1. In a study evaluating dietary patterns in infants at 6 and 12 months of age, socioeconomic factors such as maternal non-Hispanic African American race/ethnicity, lower education, and low household income correlated with higher scores on the “High sugar/fat/protein” dietary pattern.
2. “High sugar/fat/protein” and “High dairy/regular cereal” were associated with unfavorable growth patterns (i.e. smaller length, greater BMI) in infants from 6 to 12 months of age.
Study Rundown: While breastfeeding recommendations exist for infants, there are no well-established guidelines for solid foods for US infants less than 2 years of age. This study therefore sought to characterize dietary patterns among US infants. Four similar dietary patterns were identified at infants of ages 6 months and 12 months. Infants of mothers with non-Hispanic African American race/ethnicity, lower education, and low household income had higher scores on the “High sugar/fat/protein” dietary pattern at 12 months. Infants of mothers with non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, high education, and high household income had higher scores on the “Infant guideline solids” (fruit, vegetables, and home-prepared meals) pattern. From age 6 to 12 months, the “High sugar/fat/protein” and “High dairy/regular cereal” patterns were both associated with a smaller increase in the length-for-age z score and greater increase in BMI z score. The “Formula” pattern was also associated with a greater increase in the BMI z score. Though this study is limited by recall bias and high attrition, physicians should be aware of variations among dietary patterns in different socioeconomic groups and consequences for growth with each pattern.
In-Depth [prospective survey]: Data from the Infant Feeding Practices II study was utilized and included 1555 infants at 6-month follow-up (86.6% white), 1445 infants at 12-month follow-up (86.2% white), and 530 infants at both 6-month and 12-month follow-up (91.1% white). Four distinct dietary patterns were found at 6 months: “High sugar/fat/protein”, “Formula”, “High dairy/regular cereal milk”, and “Infant guideline solids”. At 12 months, these remained the same, with the exception of the following additions: “Formula/baby cereal” and “High dairy”. Multivariable linear regression analysis at 6 months revealed an increased BMI z score for the “High sugar/fat/protein” (1.00; 95% CI 0.11 to 1.89), “High dairy/regular cereal” (0.32; 95% 0.10 to 0.53), and “Formula” (0.25; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.40) patterns. Smaller increases in length-for-age z score were seen in the “High sugar/fat/protein” (-1.36; 95% CI -2.35 to – 0.37) and “High dairy/regular cereal” (-0.30; 95% CI -0.54 to – 0.06).
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