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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Oct;22(10):765-9. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

How could complementary feeding patterns affect the susceptibility to NCD later in life?

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Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB# 7400, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400, USA.



The purpose of this paper is to provide a general framework for thinking about pathways and potential mechanisms through which complementary feeding may influence the risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).


To provide a context for the lack of clear and consistent evidence relating complementary feeding to NCD risk, methodological challenges faced in trying to develop an evidence base are described. Potential pathways through which complementary feeding may influence obesity-related NCD risk are described and illustrated with examples.


Numerous aspects of complementary feeding, including diet composition as well as patterns of feeding have the potential to influence the early development of obesity, which in turn predicts later obesity and NCD risk. Specific dietary exposures during the period of complementary feeding also have the potential to program future disease risk through pathways that are independent of adiposity. These factors all require consideration when making recommendations for optimal complementary feeding practices aimed at prevention of future NCDs.

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