Does Pacifier Use in Infancy Decrease the Risk of Obesity?

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Abstract

Background. Nonnutritive sucking using a finger or pacifier is a natural reflex for infants. We hypothesized that infants may overfeed if the bottle or breast is constantly offered. Our goal was to determine whether pacifier use in early infancy is associated with lower incidence of obesity at later age. Methods. Parents of 399 infants, 9 to 15 months old, were interviewed and asked whether a pacifier was used consistently for ≥9 months. Body mass indexes at birth, 6 months, and on the day of interview were calculated. Results. In all, 204 (51%) infants used a pacifier, and 195 (49%) were nonusers. More infants in the nonuser group were either overweight—40 (21%)—or obese—32 (16%)—than in the user group—22 (11%) and 22 (11%), respectively (P = .003). Conclusions. Pacifier use in infancy was associated with lower incidence of obesity at 9 to 15 months of age. Offering a pacifier can be protective against infantile obesity.

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