Effects of Early Weight Gain Velocity, Diet Quality, and Snack Food Access on Toddler Weight Status at 1.5 Years: Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Infant Formula Trial.
This study followed children who participated in a feeding trial in which the type of randomized infant formula fed from 2 weeks significantly affected weight gain velocity during the first 4 months and weight-for-length Z (WLZ) scores up to 11.5 months. We focused on measures of anthropometry, dietary intakes, and parenting related to the provision of snack foods that were collected at the end of the trial (1 year) and the 1.5 years follow-up visit. We not only describe what toddlers are eating, but we also determined the independent and/or interactive effects of randomized formula group, early weight gain velocity, the nutrient content of the post-formula diet, and maternal snack food practices, on toddlers' weight status. Diet quality underwent drastic changes during this 6-month period. As infant formula disappeared from the diet, fruit and 100% fruit juice intake increased slightly, while intake of "What We Eat in America" food categories sweetened beverages and snacks and sweets more than doubled. Added sugars accounted for 5% of energy needs at 1 year and 9% at 1.5 years. Generalized linear mixed models revealed that, independent of the randomized formula group, greater velocities of weight gain during early infancy and lower access to snacks as toddlers predicted higher WLZ and a greater proportion of toddlers with overweight at 1.5 years. Energy and added sugar intake had no significant effects. These findings add to the growing body of evidence that unhealthy dietary habits are formed even before formula weaning and that, along with improving early diet, transient rapid weight gain and parental feeding practices are modifiable determinants that may reduce risks for obesity.