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J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 Mar;96(3):351-62.

Maternal perception of body size as a determinant of infant adiposity in an African-American community.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


For 10 weeks, a sample of 105 postpartum African-American clients of three inner-city clinics, were recruited for this nine-month prospective study. Data from 54 mother-infant dyads were used to explore the associations between maternal perceptions of infant body size and the development of adiposity at six- to seven months of age. Correlations, chi-square, paired t-test, ANOVA, and logistic regression analyses were performed. Quantitative assessments of BMI using weight and length measures and qualitative assessments of body size perceptions using questionnaires, silhouette, and ranking scales were conducted. At six- to seven months of age, 40% of the infants were above the 85th percentile and 31% were above the 95th percentile of the NCHS standards for weight for height. Maternal perception of infant body size was positively correlated with early introduction of nonmilk foods. Significantly, more infants perceived as small were introduced to nonmilk foods earlier, compared to infants perceived as average, p=0.03. Additionally, it was observed that the earlier the introduction of nonmilk foods, the greater the infant's BMI at six- to seven months of age (r=0.59, p=0.02). Finally, one-third of mothers were obese with BMI's exceeding 30, and 31.1% were overweight with BMI's between 25 and 30.

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