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How Infant Feeding Practices Affect Children at Age 6: A Follow-Up

​Evidence is expanding rapidly on the long-term health effects of infant diet and nutrition.

In a supplement to Pediatrics published Sept. 2, 2014, researchers provide more context for the relationship between early infant feeding and subsequent health outcomes.

The supplement presents new data from a follow-up study of children at 6 years of age who were previously included in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS-II), which followed infants almost monthly from the third trimester of pregnancy to the age of 12 months. The mothers of these infants were re-contacted six years later to provide information on diet, health, and developmental outcomes.

Below is a sampling of the findings from the IFPS II follow-up study:

  • The longer a mother breastfeeds and waits to introduce foods and drinks other than breastmilk, the lower the odds her child will have ear, throat, and sinus infections at 6 years of age.
  • Children who breastfeed longer consume water, fruit, and vegetables more often at 6 years of age and consume fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages less often.
  • When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first year of life, this doubles the odds that they will drink sugar-sweetened beverages at 6 years of age.
  • When children eat fruit and vegetables infrequently during the first year of life, this increases the odds that they will continue to eat fruit and vegetables infrequently at 6 years of age.

Study authors conclude the data emphasize the need to establish healthy eating behaviors early in life, as this could predict healthy eating behaviors later in life. For more information about the IFPS-II and the IFPS-II follow-up study, visit www.cdc.gov/ifps.

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Published
9/2/2014 12:00 AM