1 Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Background. Hispanic infants have a higher prevalence of excessive weight (14.8%) than other group in the US (Blacks 8.7%; White 8.4%). Methods. A convenience sample of 269 parents/guardians and their full-term infants aged 0-24 months were recruited from WIC in San Juan, PR. We assessed socio-demographic information, dietary patterns using a Food Frequency Questionnaire and measured weight and recumbent length. Using WHO growth charts, we categorized weight status using infant weight for length as healthy if =95th percentile and as excessive if >95th percentiles. We compared groups using Student’s t-test. Results. Parent’s age was 28±6 y; 90% were mothers, 41% had high school education or less, infant’s age was 9.4±6.9 months, and 53.9% were males. Excessive weight was found among 11.2% (n=30) of the infants. Compared to healthy weight infants, those with excessive weight consumed less breastmilk (3.12 vs 1.55 times per day, respectively; p<0.05), less whole grain pasta and rice (0.04 vs 0.01 times per day; p<0.05), more refined baby crackers (0.39 vs 0.80 times per day; p<0.05), less vegetables (3.56 vs 1.94 times per day; p<0.05), less starchy vegetables (0.11 vs 0.05 times per day; p<0.05), less fish (0.03 vs 0.01 times per day; p<0.05) but also less sugar added to baby cereals (0.13 vs 0.02 teaspoons; p<0.05). In addition, there was a higher use of folic acid (0.01 times per day) and multivitamin-multimineral supplements (0.1 times per day) in healthy weight infants compared to excessive weight infants (0.0 and 0.03 times per day, respectively; p<0.05). Conclusion: Among this sample of 0-24 months infants excessive weight was associated to: less breastfeeding, higher consumption of refined foods, lower consumption of vegetables, starchy vegetables and fish, and lower use dietary supplements. This study adds to the growing evidence that early life nutrition is an important determinant of infant weight status.