Objective. Breastfeeding and infant weight change are both associated with adiposity. We examined the extent to which infant weight change mediates the association between breastfeeding and adiposity at age 3 years. Methods. We studied 884 children in a prospective cohort study. We determined breastfeeding status in the first 6 months. Our primary outcomes at 3 years were body mass index (BMI) z score and the sum of subscapular and triceps skinfold thicknesses (SS + TR); we also assessed obesity. We defined infant weight change as change in weight-for-age z score between birth and 6 months. We performed multivariable regression analyses. Results. At age 6 months, 25.0% of infants were fully breastfed. At age 3 years, mean (standard deviation) BMI z score was 0.45 (1.03). In linear regression analyses adjusted for mother's educational level, race/ethnicity, smoking, BMI, pregnancy weight gain and birth weight (adjusted for gestational age), the BMI z score of fully breastfed children was 0.17 (95% CI: -0.43, 0.09) units lower than never breastfed children. After additional adjustment for infant weight change, the estimate was attenuated (-0.03, 95% CI: -0.27, 0.20). Adjustment for infant weight change only modestly attenuated estimates for SS + TR (from -1.48 mm [95% CI: -2.52, -0.44] to -1.16 mm [95% CI: -2.18, -0.14]), and for the odds of being obese (from 0.21 [95% CI: 0.07, 0.68] to 0.29 [95% CI: 0.08, 1.05]). Conclusion. Infant weight change between birth and 6 months mediates associations of breastfeeding with BMI, but only partially with indicators of child adiposity.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Body mass index, Breastfeeding, Infant weight change, Obesity, Overweight
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3109/17477166.2010.524700, hdl.handle.net/1765/26701
Citation
van Rossem, L., Taveras, E.M., Gillman, M.W., Kleinman, K.P., Rifas-Shiman, S.L., Raat, H., & Oken, E.. (2011). Is the association of breastfeeding with child obesity explained by infant weight change?. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 6(2 -2). doi:10.3109/17477166.2010.524700