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Childhood obesity: Programming by infant nutrition?

Contract number : QLK1-2001-00389
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 2.832.821
EC contribution : € 2.422.807
Starting date : 1/05/2002
Duration : 42 Months
Scientific Officer : Alkmini Katsada
Project website : not yet available
Prof. Dr Berthold Koletzko
University of Munich
Div. Metabolic Disorders and Nutrition
Lindwurmstraße 4
80337 München
Tel.: +49 89 51603967
Fax: +49 89 51603336
E-mail: berthold.koletzko @

Obesity has become a global epidemic and represents a major health challenge all across Europe. Obesity poses serious short and long term health risks for the affected individual, as well as very high cost burdens for health care and social security systems. Development of effective prevention strategies which start in childhood are therefore desirable. In addition to genetic disposition and current lifestyle factors, early nutrient supply during infancy has a lasting, programming effect on later obesity risk. A high protein content in the diet during the first months of life, as is frequently experienced with current feeding concepts of formula and complementary foods, may predispose to an increased risk of later obesity. CHOPIN will investigate whether infant feeding regimes which differ in their protein and fat contents during the first two years of life influence an innovative, early marker of obesity development, namely the difference between length at two years of age and length at birth.

If a relationship between dietary protein and fat (or their ratio) and obesity risk is confirmed, effective obesity prevention by counselling of young families and development of modified infant food products is possible.

  • To test the primary hypothesis that a possible causal factor for the difference in long-term obesity risk between breast and formula fed infants is the much lower protein content of breast milk compared to infant formulae.
  • To do this by performing a double blind randomised multicentre intervention trial in healthy infants, comparing isocaloric infant formulae with high and low protein contents, balanced by far.
  • To validate the primary hypothesis with epidemiological observational studies evaluating the effects of different habitual protein intakes with traditional complementary feeding regimes in infants in the same 5 countries.
  • To evaluate the relationship between different types of infant feeding regimes on a novel, early anthropometric marker or later obesity development, namely the difference between length at two years of age and length at birth.
  • To investigate the effects of these infant feeding regimes on body composition, energy expenditure, physical activity, protein metabolism, renal function, leptin and its binding protein and on insulin like growth fact1 (IGF1).
  • To disseminate the results widely to the user communities.
  • to explore effective preventive strategies by modification of the composition and use of dietary products for infants and thus contribute to significant potential health benefits for the European population.
(expected) Results and achievements

By 6m: Newsletter 1 and website established to report progress; methodologies agreed
15m-21m: Intervention study finished; Newsletter 2; Protocols published.
30m-36m: Observational study finished; Newsletter 3
By 36m: All analyses finished. Newsletter 4;
By 42m: Dissemination of results and conclusions from CHOPIN at major plenary conference; glossy brochures outlining achievements distributed widely to interest parties, Scientific Publications and Presentation.


Université Libre de Bruxelles U.L.B.
Fondation Reine Elisabeth
Laboratory of Pediatrics
Avenue J.J. Crocq, 15
1020 Bruxelles
Università Degli Studi di Milano
Dipartimento Medicina, Chirurgia ed Odontoiatria
Clinica Pediatrica
Ospedale San Paolo - Via A. di Rudini, 8
20142 Milano
Children's Memorial Health Institute
Clinic of Gastroenterology
Al. Dzieci Polskich 20
04-736 Warszawa
Medical Research Council
Human Nutrition Research
Elsie Widdowson Laboratory,
Fulbourn Road
CB1 9NL Cambridge
United Kingdom
University Rovira i Virgili
Faculty of Medicine
Department of Medicine and Surgery
Pediatrics Unit
Sant Lloren 21
43201 Reus
Danone Research Center
15 Avenue Galilée
92350 le Plessis Robinson
Bledina SA
Rue Philippe Heron 383
PO Box 432
69654 Villefranche-sur-Saõne Cedex

Fifth Framework Programme

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