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WHO Says Growth Charts Were Wrong

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, April 24, 2006


British Docs Have Been Giving Bad Advice to Breastfeeding Moms

For forty years...British breastfeeding moms have been told to supplement with formula or add in solids in order to bring their babies up to the "proper" weights as dictated by growth charts. The problem is, those charts have been based on formula fed babies who put on weight at a faster pace.

It's believed that the pressure on moms to bring breastfed babies "up to weight" may have contributed to the UK's growing youth obesity problem.

From the article:

Health experts believe the growth charts may have contributed to childhood obesity and associated problems such as diabetes and heart disease in later life. A government study has found that more than a quarter of children in English secondary schools are clinically obese, almost double the proportion a decade ago.

This week, the WHO will publish new growth standards based on a study of more than 8,000 breast-fed babies from six countries around the world. They will say the optimum size is that of a breast-fed baby.

The move will put pressure on British doctors to replace charts which, for the last four decades, have taken into account the growth patterns of bottle-fed babies.


  1. Blogger Unknown | 5:00 AM |  

    With attitudes like these about breastfeeding, it's no wonder the folks in the UK are having difficulties getting their breastfeeding rates up.


  2. Blogger v | 8:09 PM |  

    Woo-hoo! I can't wait for these new growth charts. As an exclusively breastfeeding mom who had a kid below the 3rd percentile, I fought with our pediatrician over my son's weight for months before finding a new doctor. I was so happy when I mentioned the weight issue with the new doctor and she said, "Well you know those charts are based on kids who've had formula and early solids, right?" I was like, "Yeah, I know! And I'm so happy to have found a dr. who knows that too!"

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:09 AM |  

    I know many breastfeeding mothers in the UK just don't bother going near anyone who weighs their babies - my second offspring was weighed about twice I think.

    Which means that you are cut off from lots of the support you could be getting.

    There are some breastfeeding support groups who will do the weighing and stuff without worrying about the charts, but the growth chart in the red book that every baby has is based on the wrong figures, so it's pretty much everywhere.

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