Predictors of Infant Body Composition at 5 Months of Age: The Healthy Start Study
To examine associations of demographic, perinatal, and infant feeding characteristics with offspring body composition at approximately 5 months of age.Study design
We collected data on 640 mother/offspring pairs from early pregnancy through approximately 5 months of age. We assessed offspring body composition with air displacement plethysmography at birth and approximately 5 months of age. Linear regression analyses examined associations between predictors and fat-free mass, fat mass, and percent fat mass (adiposity) at approximately 5 months. Secondary models further adjusted for body composition at birth and rapid infant growth.Results
Greater prepregnant body mass index and gestational weight gain were associated with greater fat-free mass at approximately 5 months of age, but not after adjustment for fat-free mass at birth. Greater gestational weight gain was also associated with greater fat mass at approximately 5 months of age, independent of fat mass at birth and rapid infant growth, although this did not translate into increased adiposity. Greater percent time of exclusive breastfeeding was associated with lower fat-free mass (-311 g; P < .001), greater fat mass (+224 g; P < .001), and greater adiposity (+3.51%; P < .001). Compared with offspring of non-Hispanic white mothers, offspring of Hispanic mothers had greater adiposity (+2.72%; P < .001) and offspring of non-Hispanic black mothers had lower adiposity (-1.93%; P < .001). Greater adiposity at birth predicted greater adiposity at approximately 5 months of age, independent of infant feeding and rapid infant growth.Conclusions
There are clear differences in infant body composition by demographic, perinatal, and infant feeding characteristics, although our data also show that increased adiposity at birth persists through approximately 5 months of age. Our findings warrant further research into implications of differences in infant body composition.