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Child Obes. 2017 Oct 4. doi: 10.1089/chi.2017.0177. [Epub ahead of print]

Pacifier Use and Early Life Weight Outcomes in the Intervention Nurses Start Infants Growing on Healthy Trajectories Study.

Author information

1
1 Center for Childhood Obesity Research, Penn State University, University Park , PA.
2
2 Department of Nutrition Science, Penn State University, University Park , PA.
3
3 Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia , Athens, GA.
4
4 Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine , Hershey, PA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although widely used by infants, little is known about the long-term effects of pacifiers. We investigated relationships between pacifier use in infancy and appetite, temperament, feeding, and weight outcomes through age 2 years using data from the Intervention Nurses Start Infants Growing on Healthy Trajectories study.

METHODS:

Mother-newborn dyads were randomized to a responsive parenting intervention for obesity prevention or a control group. Infants with data on pacifier use (n = 250) were categorized as using a pacifier beyond early infancy (≥4 months of age) or not. Anthropometrics were measured at 6 months, 1, and 2 years with overweight defined as weight-for-length ≥95th percentile at 1 year and BMI ≥85th percentile at 2 years. Mothers completed questionnaires on temperament, appetite, and feeding.

RESULTS:

Infants who used a pacifier at 4 months or later (68%) had greater conditional weight gain from birth to 6 months (p = 0.01), weight-for-length z-score at 1 year (p < 0.001), and BMI z-score at 2 years (p < 0.001) than infants who did not. Infants using a pacifier at ≥4 months were more likely to be overweight at ages 1 year (11.7% vs. 1.3%, p = 0.03) and 2 years (20.1% vs. 7.9%, p = 0.03). Pacifier use was associated with shorter breastfeeding duration and less responsive parent feeding styles, but these variables did not mediate the relationship between pacifiers and weight. Parent-reported temperament and appetite were unrelated to pacifier use.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pacifier use beyond early infancy is associated with accelerated infant growth and toddler overweight, although the reasons for this relationship are unclear.

KEYWORDS:

child obesity; infant; pacifier; parenting; weight

PMID:
28976781
DOI:
10.1089/chi.2017.0177
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