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Acad Pediatr. 2017 Jul;17(5):523-528. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2016.11.001.

Infant Regulatory Problems and Obesity in Early Childhood.

Author information

1
Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Mass. Electronic address: epc@bu.edu.
2
Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Mich.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.
4
Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Mass.
5
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Difficult infant temperament is associated with higher weight status in infancy. However, the association of infant temperament, including regulatory capacities, has not been well studied as a possible predictor of future weight status in early childhood. We examined prospective associations of infant regulatory difficulties with obesity in early childhood in a large, diverse cohort.

METHODS:

We used data from 5750 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, excluding preterm infants and infants small or large for gestational age. Infant regulatory ability was measured at age 9 months by the Infant Toddler Symptom Checklist (ITSC). We created a multivariable logistic regression model comparing risk of obesity at preschool age in infants with ITSC scores ≥6 to infants with scores <6. We further examined the association when stratified by a measure of maternal sensitivity.

RESULTS:

The cohort of children was 48% non-Hispanic white, and 51% were boys. Twenty-one percent of children with ITSC scores ≥6 were obese at preschool age. Infants with ITSC scores ≥6 had 32% increased odds of being obese at preschool age (adjusted odds ratio 1.32 [95% confidence interval 1.03, 1.70]). The strongest association existed among children described as demanding attention constantly. There was no difference in the association when comparing mothers with high or low maternal sensitivity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Infant regulatory difficulties are associated with a higher risk of obesity at preschool age. Helping parents manage and respond to difficult infant behaviors before preschool may serve as a focal point for future interventions.

KEYWORDS:

infant; obesity; regulation

PMID:
28669453
DOI:
10.1016/j.acap.2016.11.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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