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Baby fat charts say breast is best

Different rates of growth between breast-fed and bottle-fed babies mean that growth charts are having to be reconfigured.

It follows research showing that although breast-fed babies may appear underweight, the slower but steadier rate of growth is healthier and less likely to lead to obesity.

The Department of Health has produced new charts for babies and children up to four years old in time for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which starts on Sunday (10 May 2009).

Says Dr Sheila Shribman, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity: "The new UK-WHO growth charts will not only provide more accurate measurements for infant growth of breastfed babies, but will also help healthcare professionals and parents to identify early signs of overweight or obesity and provide support."

They will now form part of every newborn baby's Personal Child Health Record, which will make it easier to identify children who may be at risk of becoming obese.

Based on work by the World Health Organization, the charts were developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

WHO Growth Standards

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