Influence of early feeding style on adiposity at 6 years of age

J Pediatr. 1990 May;116(5):805-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)82677-0.


In a previous study we found that a vigorous infant feeding style measured in the laboratory at 2 and 4 weeks of age predicted the degree of adiposity at 1 and 2 years of age. A follow-up of this cohort of infants at 3 and 6 years of age is now reported. Factors predicting adiposity, measured by body mass index at 3 years of age, were pressure of suckling, with high-pressure sucking (denoting a vigorous feeding style) associated with greater adiposity, and time of introduction of solid food, with delayed introduction of solid food or breast-feeding longer than 5 months, or both, being associated with greater adiposity. Predictive factors at 6 years of age were adiposity at birth, with greater adiposity at birth predicting greater fatness at 6 years, parental education, with less education associated with fatness, and a prolonged period of breast-feeding with delayed introduction of solid food. These factors accounted for 40.4% of the variance in adiposity at 3 years of age and 31.2% at 6 years. The effects of social learning on body mass index, indicated by parental educational level, appear to strengthen over time, whereas the effects of the vigorous feeding style wane.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Probability
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Sucking Behavior*