Obesity Related Programming Statements in Infant Feeding Policies in Five European Countries
The aim of this study was to know how the early nutrition programming concept and its relation with long-term diseases such as obesity is reflected in policy recommendations on infant nutrition in five European countries (Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain and England). After collating and evaluating infant nutrition policy documents, statements about early nutrition programming, as the origin of diseases such as obesity, were analysed. The number of policy documents analysed were 38 (England: 10, Finland: 2, Germany: 11, Hungary: 8, Spain: 7) with a total of 455 statements identified and categorized into 53 different health outcomes. Obesity was mentioned in 5.5% (n = 25) of the statements, the third most frequent outcome after allergy (14.1%, n = 64) and health in general (5.7%, n = 26). Twenty six percent (n = 6) of the obesity related statements referred to short-term duration of the effects, 48% (n = 12) to medium-term, 24% (n = 6) to long-term effects and the rest were not identified. Only 22% of the obesity statements were evidence based. The link between infant feeding and obesity is integrated into policy documents, but most of the statements did not fully specify the short, medium and long term health implications. Action may be required to keep documents up to date as new evidence emerges and to ensure the evidence base is properly recorded.
KeywordsEarly nutrition programming European Union obesity policies
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