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Associations between timing and quality of solid food introduction with infant weight-for-length z-scores at 12 months: Findings from the Nurture cohort

Vadiveloo, Maya, Tovar, Alison, Østbye, Truls, Benjamin-Neelon, Sara E.
Appetite 2019 v.141 pp. 104299
French fries, body mass index, food intake, fruits, healthy diet, ice cream, income, infancy, infants, linear models, mothers, snacks, sociodemographic characteristics, sweets, vegetables, women, North Carolina
This study assesses associations of the timing and quality of solid foods introduced during infancy with weight-for-length (WFL) z-scores at 12 months within the Nurture cohort. Women from North Carolina self-reported sociodemographics, the timing and type of solid food introduction, and reasons for introducing solids; infant anthropometrics were measured every 3 months through 1 year (n = 666). Frequency (0–5x/day) infants consumed fruits and vegetables was used to compute a mean (4–12 months) healthy food score (HFS), and sweets, french fries, snacks, and ice cream was used to compute a mean unhealthy food score (UnHFS). Multivariable-adjusted generalized linear models were used to examine the relationship of early solid food introduction, HFS quartiles (Q), UnHFS quartiles, and interactions between these variables with WFL z-scores at 12 months (n = 449). Exploratory analyses evaluated WFL z-scores among 4 groups of infants with high/low HFS and high/low UnHFS. On average, mothers were 28 years with a pre-pregnancy BMI of 30.5 kg/m2; 65% were Non-Hispanic Black, and 59% had incomes <$20,000. Mean HFS and UnHFS were 2.4 (range 0–7.4 of 10) and 1.8 (range 0–9.9 of 20), respectively. Nearly 1/3 of mothers introduced solids early, but early introduction and the HFS were not associated with WFL z-scores. Infants in Q3 and Q4 of the UnHFS had higher WFL z-scores (0.75–0.79 ± 0.09) compared to infants in Q1 (0.42 ± 0.0.9), p < 0.05. Frequent unhealthy food intake was associated with higher WFL z-scores at 12-months, underscoring the importance of reducing unhealthy food intake in the first year.