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Minerva Medica 2020 April;111(2):141-52

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.19.06320-1

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Complementary feeding: new styles versus old myths

Valeria DIPASQUALE, Claudio ROMANO

Pediatric Gastroenterology and Cystic Fibrosis Unit, Department of Human Pathology in Adulthood and Childhood “G. Barresi”, University of Messina, Messina, Italy



Early life feeding habits may potentially alter future metabolic programming and body composition. Complementary feeding is the period of time when infants introduce food different from milk in their diet, together with a gradual reduction of the intake of milk (either breast milk or formula), to finally acquire the diet model of their family. This period is important in the transition of the infant from milk feeding to family foods, and is necessary for both nutritional and developmental reasons. The timing for introducing complementary foods and the method of feeding have changed over time. Available literature data show increasing interest and concerns about the impact of complementary feeding timing and modality on the onset of later non-communicable disorders, such as overweight and obesity, allergic diseases, celiac disease, or diabetes. While international scientific guidelines on complementary feeding have been published, many baby food companies’ websites, blogs, and books, in most European countries exist. The aim of this manuscript is to look over current recommendations, and to revise “old myths.” The adoption of an adequate weaning method is a cornerstone in the development of life-long health status. A correct strategy could reduce the risk of feeding disorders and other health problems later in life.


KEY WORDS: Infant nutritional physiological phenomena; Weaning; Guidelines as topic; Outcome assessment (health care); Pediatrics

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