In a 4-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial, this study aimed to evaluate the longer-term effects of a peer-led infant feeding intervention that was delivered during the first year of life. The original intervention used monthly home visits from trained volunteers to improve infant feeding practices among a sample of low-income mothers in two disadvantaged London boroughs. Outcome measures at follow-up included children's eating and drinking habits, general and dental health, and BMI. Data were collected via structured face-to-face interviews and postal questionnaires. Of 212 women who completed the original trial, 101 took part in the follow-up (55 intervention, 46 control). Children's mean age at follow-up was 4 years 7 months. There is little evidence that the intervention had an important effect on children's current BMI, caries levels or consumption of fruit and vegetables. However, mothers from the intervention group had better nutritional knowledge and confidence. Intervention group children also consumed more pure fruit juice [relative risk (RR) = 1.57; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.99, 2.49] and were more likely to never drink squash (RR = 1.76; 95% CI 1.20, 2.58). The data suggest that the original peer support intervention had a small number of positive long-term effects.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.