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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPACT OF EARLY DIETARY FACTORS ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Title: Body fat mass of exclusively breastfed infants born to overweight mothers

Authors
item Andres, Aline -
item Shankar, Kartik -
item Badger, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 23, 2012
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
Citation: Andres, A., Shankar, K., Badger, T.M. 2012. Body fat mass of exclusively breastfed infants born to overweight mothers. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 112(7):991-995.

Interpretive Summary: Women who are overweight (BMI 25-30) before conceiving may create a risk factor for the development of obesity in their infants and children later in life. The objective of the study was to measure body composition of 65 breast-fed infants born to lean vs. overweight mothers. Body fat (%) was higher in infants born to overweight mothers compared to infants born to lean mothers at age 2 weeks and 3 months. When taking into account differences in gestational weight gain and birth weight, body fat mass was still significantly different at age 2 weeks, but the effect was lost at age 3 months. Thus, breast-fed infants of overweight mothers have a greater body fat mass accumulation during the mother's pregnancy compared to infants of lean mothers. Future studies following infants and children during childhood are needed to test whether these early effects are sustained into childhood.

Technical Abstract: Although there is evidence that maternal prepregnancy obesity (body mass index [BMI; calculated as kg/m2] =30) results in elevated risk of obesity in the offspring later in life, maternal prepregnancy overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) has not been clearly demonstrated as a risk factor for the future development of obesity in the offspring. Our objective was to determine if body composition differs between infants born to lean or overweight breastfeeding women. Body composition (PeaPod, COSMED USA, Inc) and anthropometric outcomes were measured in 65 infants born to lean mothers (n=46) (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) or overweight mothers (n=19) (BMI 25 to 29.9) between 2006 and 2007. Maternal body composition (BodPod, COSMED USA, Inc) was also measured. Body fat mass was higher in infants born to overweight mothers compared with infants born to lean mothers at age 2 weeks and 3 months (11.9% vs 15.3% and 24.1% vs 26.8%, respectively; P<0.05). After adjusting for gestational weight gain and birth weight, body fat mass was significantly greater only at age 2 weeks. Infants of overweight mothers have greater body fat mass in the neonatal period compared with infants of lean mothers, suggesting that maternal overweight may predispose fetal metabolism to favor fat storage. Although our data suggest that this effect is short lived, future studies are needed to investigate children beyond the infancy period to test if body composition is greater in offspring of overweight women.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014