Ethnicity, infant-feeding practices, and childhood adiposity

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1990 Oct;11(5):234-9.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Texas


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats