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Dietary patterns in infancy are associated with child diet and weight outcomes at 6 years



To assess whether patterns of dietary exposures at 9 months are associated with child diet and weight at 6 years.


Data for this study were from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II and Year 6 Follow-Up Studies. All data were self-reported monthly. Results of a previous latent class analysis revealed five dietary patterns varying in milk and solid food intake. These five infant dietary patterns were used in the current study to predict child diet and weight outcomes at 6 years, while controlling for confounding variables.


Infants with dietary patterns higher in fruit and vegetable intake at 9 months had higher fruit and vegetable intake at 6 years. Similarly, infants with the dietary pattern characterized by foods high in energy density (that is, French Fries and sweet desserts) continued to have higher consumption of these foods at 6 years, and had a higher prevalence of overweight at 6 years (43%) compared with the other classes. Formula-fed infants had higher sugar-sweetened beverage intake and fewer met the dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake at 6 years than breastfed infants, controlling for factors such as income.


Early decisions about milk-feeding, and the types of solid foods offered in infancy can foreshadow dietary patterns and obesity risk later in childhood. Infants who were offered energy-dense foods had higher intake of these foods at 6 years of age.

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The manuscript work was funded by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture Grant #2011-67001-30117 Program A2121—Childhood Obesity Prevention: Transdisciplinary Graduate Education and Training in Nutrition and Family Sciences.

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Correspondence to J S Savage.

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Rose, C., Birch, L. & Savage, J. Dietary patterns in infancy are associated with child diet and weight outcomes at 6 years. Int J Obes 41, 783–788 (2017).

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