Obesity related programming statements in materials on infant feeding aimed at parents in five European countries

Julia Von Rosen-Von Hoewel, Kirsi Laitinen, Elena Martin-Bautista, Cristina Campoy, Viktoria Jakobik, Tamás Decsi, Martina A. Schmid, Jane Morgan, Heather Gage, Berthold Koletzko, Monique Raats

Research output: Conference contribution


Early nutrition programming as an origin of obesity is well acknowledged, but to what extent is this concept communicated to parents? In five European countries, UK, Finland (FI), Germany (DE), Hungary (HU) and Spain (ES), a total of 130 stand alone leaflets and 161 articles from parenting magazines providing information on feeding of healthy infants aged 0-12 months were identified and screened for nutrition programming statements. Obesity was mentioned in 8.5% (54/638) of the statements, and was the fourth most frequent outcome after allergy (20.7%), risk of infections (15.5%) and growth and development (11.4%). A temporal prognosis was given in 39% of obesity related statements, 6% referring to short-(< 5 years), 13% to medium-(5-15 years) and 20% to long-term (>15 years) duration of effects. So advice on obesity focuses on the intrinsic long-term perspective of programming in contrary to other surveyed health-outcomes where only 8% considered a lifelong approach. The major programming related behaviour concerned breast-feeding compared to formula and complementary feeding with meaningful differences concerning the recommended duration: for ES and HU the predominant advice was for exclusive breast-feeding for 6 months, for DE exclusive breast-feeding for 4-6 months and for UK and FI breast-feeding without further specification. In summary, statements relating to the programming of later obesity have been partially integrated into feeding information in five European countries. These countries have slightly different breastfeeding recommendations, but consistently refer to the preventive potential of breastfeeding in general. This is important as obesity and its resulting morbidity are of increasing public health concern in developed countries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Nutrition Programming and Health Outcomes in Later Life
Subtitle of host publicationObesity and Beyond
EditorsBerthold Koletzko, Tamas Decsi, Denes Molnar, Anne de la Hunty
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - dec. 1 2009

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Von Rosen-Von Hoewel, J., Laitinen, K., Martin-Bautista, E., Campoy, C., Jakobik, V., Decsi, T., Schmid, M. A., Morgan, J., Gage, H., Koletzko, B., & Raats, M. (2009). Obesity related programming statements in materials on infant feeding aimed at parents in five European countries. In B. Koletzko, T. Decsi, D. Molnar, & A. de la Hunty (Eds.), Early Nutrition Programming and Health Outcomes in Later Life: Obesity and Beyond (pp. 175-181). (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 646). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9173-5_21