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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jun;65(6):1731-7.

Maternal anthropometry and infant feeding practices in Israel in relation to growth in infancy: the North African Infant Feeding Study.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Relations between maternal anthropometric status during pregnancy and infant feeding practices and growth from birth through the first 6 mo of life were examined in a cohort of 351 Israeli mother-infant pairs of North African descent. Maternal weight, height, and triceps skinfold thicknesses were determined at 6 and 9 mo of pregnancy, while infants' weights and lengths were measured at birth and at 1, 2, 3, and 6 mo of age with concurrent collection of age-specific maternal-reported infant feeding data. On the basis of multiple-linear-regression analysis that adjusted for potential covariates, mean maternal weight at the first prenatal visit and at 6 and 9 mo of pregnancy were positively associated with birth length (P for trend in all cases < 0.0001) and with linear growth between birth and 1, 3, and 6 mo of age. Maternal skinfold thickness at 9 mo of pregnancy and maternal height were also significantly associated with birth length. Moreover, maternal height, weight, and skinfold thickness at 6 and 9 mo of pregnancy were positively associated with mean birth weight. After adjustment for morbidity in the past month and other covariates, infants breast-fed exclusively had greater attained weight and weight gain in the first 3 mo compared with infants who were bottle-fed exclusively, breast-fed and bottle-fed, or solid-fed exclusively. These findings underscore the need for programs that improve the nutritional status of women before, during, and after pregnancy, and encourage exclusive breast-feeding of infants for at least the first 3 mo of life.

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