A supplement article published online Sept. 1 in Pediatrics presented a summary of a series of studies that explain longitudinal associations between early feeding and subsequent outcomes, including physical and psychosocial outcomes. The articles are based new data available from a follow-up study of children at age 6 years who were previously included in the longitudinal Infant Feeding Practices Study II.
Because of the depth of detail they provide, the IFPS II and its year six follow-up present a unique opportunity to examine the association of infant feeding with later health outcomes and behaviors, the authors stated in the supplement article. By following infants almost monthly from the third trimester of pregnancy to the age of 12 months, the IFPS II provides detailed information on changes in infant feeding that cannot be accurately captured through retrospective recall. The mothers of these infants were recontacted six years later to provide information on diet, health, and developmental outcomes.
One set of studies discussed in the supplement article Infant Feeding and Long-Term Outcomes: Results From the Year 6 Follow-Up of Children in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II examined child health outcomes at 6 years old and stated that longer breastfeeding and later introduction of foods or beverages other than breast milk are associated with lower rates of ear, throat and sinus infections in the year preceding the survey. However, they find no associations with upper or lower respiratory or urinary tract infections. Another study examined childhood obesity at age 6 years and showed that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by infants doubled the odds of later obesity. Yet another study described how breastfeeding is associated with various aspects of psychosocial development. It showed a protective relationship between duration of breastfeeding and psychosocial difficulties.
The relationship between infant diet and later diet quality also was reviewed, including the association between breastfeeding duration and various markers of a healthful or poor diet at 6 years old. Breastfeeding duration was positively associated with some markers of a healthful diet, such as higher consumption of water, fruits and vegetables, but negatively associated with some markers of a poor diet, such as higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and juice, according to the article.
According to another article in the series, the follow-up data indicated the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages during infancy doubles the odds of consuming them at age 6.
For more on the findings, see the full report: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/Supplement_1/S1.full