Ethnicity, Infant-Feeding Practices, and Childhood Adiposity

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There has been professional concern that the type of milk used for infant-feeding may lead to adiposity. Studies of the relationship between infant milk-feeding and adiposity, however, have led to inconsistent results. This study investigated the relationship of infant-feeding practices to three indicators of adiposity: body weight, body mass index (BMI) and sum of seven skinfolds. The sample includes children at 3 or 4 years of age, in three ethnic groups. Multivariate techniques assessed the relationship among practices of infant-feeding with three indicators of adiposity, while considering potential confounding variables. Although a weak bivariate relationship was detected between the duration of breastfeeding and body weight, none of the measures of infant-feeding were related to the three indicators of adiposity. Black-American girls had smaller skinfolds than Anglo- or Mexican-American girls, with no ethnic group differences among boys. Concerns about adiposity due to methods of infant-feeding can be allayed, at least among 3− or 4-year-old children.

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