Overweight in childhood of exclusively breastfed infants with a high weight at 5 months

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High infant weight increases the risk of childhood overweight, while breastfeeding may reduce the risk. However, some infants have a very high weight gain even though they are exclusively breastfed. We examined the risk of a high body mass index (BMI) and overweight in childhood for infants ≥2.5 SD above the median weight-for-age (WAZ) at age 5 months according to duration of exclusive breastfeeding (≤2, >2 to <4 or ≥4 months). The study is based on 13,401 7-year-old and 9,819 11-year-old children enrolled into the Danish National Birth Cohort (born 1997-2003). Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations while adjusting for presumed confounders including birth weight. The results showed that infants ≥2.5 SD at 5 months, breastfed exclusively ≤2, >2 to <4 or ≥4 months had adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for overweight at age 7 at 3.67 (95% confidence interval [CI] [2.10, 6.43]), 3.42 (95% CI [2.32, 5.04]) and 3.19 (95% CI [1.90, 5.36]) respectively, when compared with infants <2.5 SD WAZ exclusively breastfed ≥4 months. The corresponding results for BMI z-scores were 0.82 (95% CI [0.60, 1.04]), 0.63 (95% CI [0.48, 0.78]) and 0.57 (95% CI [0.38, 0.77]). For the ≥2.5 SD infants, the differences in risk of overweight and BMI according to duration of exclusive breastfeeding were neither significantly different among the 7-year nor among the 11-year-old children. A high infant weight increases the odds of overweight and is associated with a higher BMI in childhood. Whereas the odds and BMI z-scores tended to be lower for those exclusively breastfed longer, the differences were not statistically significant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13057
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Children, Cohort study, Exclusive breastfeeding, High infant weight, Overweight

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