Monday, February 14, 2011

Watching Your Infant To Prevent Obesity

We all know that obesity is a huge issue in this country right now for children and adults, but isn't infancy a little early to be worrying about it?  Apparently, what and when we feed an infant is important.  A recent study found infants who are formula fed and fed solid foods before 4 months of age had a higher risk for obesity by age 3 than infants who had solid foods later.  Further, there was no link to obesity and the timing of introducing solid foods to breast-fed infants.  Normally infants are fed solid foods between 4 to 6 months of age.  It seems illogical that a month earlier for solid foods or the fact an infant was formula fed would increase obesity risk.  It makes sense from an Ayurvedic standpoint.

In Ayurveda one of the basic pillars of good health is digestion.  Digestion is one of the hardest processes the body has to perform.  The body is transforming food and drink into nutrients and energy the body can use by a complex system of enzymes.  Food and drink that is not digested becomes ama (toxins).  Excess ama makes the body work harder and eventually disease occurs.  Ayurveda seeks to optimize digestion by recommending foods by body type and the optimal times to eat food.

An infant can stress their digestive system by eating solid food when their body lacks the ability to digest it.  Further, formula is not the natural preferred food for a baby, so the infant's digestive system is further stressed.  When the body cannot digest properly, ama is created.  Excess ama stays in the body and can create excess weight gain- hence, the obesity risk.  This study demonstrates the importance of digestion.  It is never too early to watch over the health of ourselves or someone we love.

Stay healthy & well,

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