Neonatal and infant feeding: effect on bone density at 4 years

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Jul;41(1):88-93. doi: 10.1097/01.mpg.0000162481.81900.e6.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the type of feeding during the first 4 months of life affects bone mineral density at 4 years of age.

Methods: Healthy 4-year-old children were recruited from the offices of primary health care providers. After confirming the type of infant feeding by history, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry analysis was obtained at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and evaluated by a radiologist blinded as to feeding type.

Results: One hundred and seventy-eight children completed the study (58% male, 85% Caucasian; mean age, 4.5 years). All children had exclusively consumed human milk (n = 57), an infant formula containing no palm olein oil (n = 56) or an infant formula containing palm olein oil (n = 65) during the first 4 months of life. At 4 years of age, no significant differences were noted in bone mineral content or bone mineral density (P = 0.51 and 0.89, respectively) among the three feeding groups as measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Total body bone mineral content and bone mineral density varied by gender, with males having significantly higher values than females regardless of feeding type (P = 0.028 and P < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion: There is no association between the use of palm olein formula during the first 4 months of life and subsequent bone mineral content and bone mineral density in healthy 4-year-old children.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Development / drug effects
  • Bone Development / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Minerals / pharmacology
  • Nutritive Value
  • Palm Oil
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging


  • Minerals
  • Plant Oils
  • Palm Oil