Purpose: Little information is available on the growth and feeding patterns of First Nations children. Our goal was to assess the anthropometric status, feeding practices, and dietary intake of children born in 1994 or 1995 (n=102) and living in Walpole Island First Nation.
Methods: Information on demographic characteristics and infant feeding practices was obtained through parent interviews conducted between 1994 and 1999. Parents also completed a 24-hour dietary recall for their children when they were 48 months old. Head circumference was measured at three and 18 months, and weight and length/height at three, 18, 33, and 48 months.
Results: Most infants (75%) were breastfed at birth; however, by the time infants were three months old, 39.7% of the mothers had stopped breastfeeding. Over half (57.1%) of the infants were fed solids before age three months, 11.6% were given whole milk before age nine months, and 59.4% had low fat milk before age two years. Body mass index (kg/m2) (BMI) was above the 85th percentile for 27.8% at the 48-month interview, and was associated with a maternal BMI above 25 (OR=7.8, CI=1.1-41.9).
Conclusions: Mothers need to be encouraged to follow current infant feeding recommendations. Strategies should be developed to reduce the prevalence of overweight among adults and children in First Nations communities.