Poster Presentation

Pediatric Research (2010) 68, 210–210; doi:10.1203/00006450-201011001-00409

409 Uk Parents' Beliefs About Infant Growth and Feeding in Relation to Obesity Prevention

S Redsell1, P Atkinson2, D Nathan3, A N Siriwardena4, J Swift5 and C Glazebrook6

  1. 1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Nottingham City PCT, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK
  5. 5School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  6. 6School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK


Objectives: A number of modifiable risk factors are associated with the development of childhood obesity. These are lower breast feeding duration, early weaning onto solid foods, parental response to infant temperament and parental control over food intake. This study explored parents' beliefs concerning their infant's size and growth and their receptiveness to early intervention aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity.

Method: Six focus groups were undertaken, in a range of different demographic areas, with parents of infants less than one year old. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic analysis using an interpretative, inductive approach.

Results: 38 parents (n=36 female, n=2 male), age range 19-45 years (mean 30.1 years, SD 6.28) participated in the focus groups. Half the sample were overweight (n=12) or obese (n=8). Five main themes were identified. These were a) rationalisation for infant's larger size, b) parents' understanding of breastfed infants' growth and age-related behaviour; c) parents' understanding of infant growth, developmental norms and feeding practices, d) belief that nothing can be done about overweight/obese infants and e) intentions and behaviour in relation to a healthy diet.

Conclusions: Some risk factors for childhood obesity are potentially modifiable. Parents are receptive to prevention prior to weaning and need better support with best practice in infant feeding. This should focus on helping them understand the physiology of breast feeding, the rationale around weaning at 6 months and how to recognise that hunger is only one explanation for infant distress and behaviour change.