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Baby Obesity Rate Growing in City
Rate of obesity among local babies is increasing due to unbalanced feeding, pediatricians cautioned, citing results of a recent survey by Shanghai Children's Health Care Institute.

According to the survey, 4.55 percent of Shanghai's babies under one year-old were overweight in 2001, while 8.3 percent of those between three and six years old were obese.

In 1999, the rates were 1.95 percent and 6.4 percent respectively, Shanghai Evening News reported yesterday.

Incorrect feeding is the main reason for the increasing number of obese babies, according to Gong Qun, vice dean of SCHCI.

"Many local mothers tend to stop feed their babies with breast milk a few months after the babies are born, when they have to return to their jobs," said Gong.

"In fact, breast milk is very important for babies, as it provides a balanced diet and helps babies' immune systems to develop," he said.

Elements and nutrition provided in breast milk substitutes, usually made from milk powder and flour products, are too simple and inadequate, Gong said. As a result, newborns feeding on these products grow slowly.

When they grow to eight to 12 months, parents usually add supplementary food to the milk powder. With the additional supply, babies will absorb the elements rapidly and are likely to become overweight, Gong said.

(eastday.com June 19, 2002)

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