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Some Behaviors Related to Infant Feeding and Activity May Be Culturally Based

​Some behaviors associated with childhood obesity vary by race and ethnicity, reinforcing the idea that culturally adapted interventions are important, according to a study in the April 2014 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 17).

At four health centers, researchers asked 863 parents of 6- to 16-week-old babies to complete questionnaires about: 

They also asked the parents about behaviors related to physical activity, including infant tummy time and active viewing of TV by infants.

The researchers found that behaviors thought to increase risk for obesity were prevalent across this large, diverse sample of mother-baby pairs. For example, 43 percent of parents reported putting their baby to bed with a bottle, and nearly half (46 percent) reported watching TV half of the time they fed their infant. On measures of physical activity, approximately half of all parents reported that their infant actively watched television, and more than 90 percent were exposed to television for an average of 346 minutes per day. There seemed to be stronger associations between some behaviors and certain races or ethnicities. For example, Hispanic mothers were more likely to report some breastfeeding, and were less likely to have introduced solid food, compared with black and white mothers. But Hispanic parents were more likely to encourage their baby to finish a bottle. Television exposure was greatest among black infants and least among Hispanic infants. About one-third of parents reported giving babies at least 30 minutes of tummy time each day, with black and white infants about twice as likely as Hispanic infants to exceed this threshold.

The authors concluded that further research is needed to determine the reasons for these differences, and public health approaches to obesity prevention should account not only for race and ethnicity, but also “the distinct cultural differences in a community’s collective behaviors.”

Additional Information:

 

Published
3/17/2014 12:15 AM