Maternal Infant-Feeding Style and Children's Adiposity at 5 Years of Age

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Abstract

Objectives

To examine the relationship between maternal infant-feeding style and adiposity in childhood and to determine whether feeding style explains any of the association between maternal obesity and childhood adiposity.

Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Cincinnati metropolitan area.

Participants

A total of 313 preschool children; 80% were white and 20% were black.

Main Outcome Measures

Seven factors describing maternal infant-feeding style derived from the Infant Feeding Questionnaire administered at age 3 years; maternal obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher before pregnancy; and adiposity at 5 years of age as assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results

The mean ± SD fat mass was 4.55 ± 1.64 kg. Seventeen percent of the mothers were obese before pregnancy. Children whose mothers had high concern about the infant overeating or becoming overweight (the highest tertile of the “overeating” factor) had 0.67 kg (95% confidence interval, 0.31–1.03 kg) higher fat mass than children whose mothers did not have high concern (the other 2 tertiles). None of the other 6 feeding factors were related to childhood adiposity. Children of obese mothers had 0.54 kg (95% confidence interval, 0.10–0.98 kg) higher fat mass than children of nonobese mothers. High concern about the infant overeating, which was more common in obese mothers, accounted for 15% of this 0.54-kg difference.

Conclusion

High maternal concern about an infant overeating or becoming overweight was associated with higher adiposity at 5 years of age and explained some of the association between maternal obesity and child adiposity.

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