Association of infant feeding patterns with body fat mass and obesity in the first 2 years of life: a longitudinal twin birth cohort study

Huili Jin, Tengfei Shan, Sisi Li, Xin Fan, Yan Zhao, Jie Li, Xiqin Tang, Richard Saffery, Chao Tong, Li Wen, Hongbo Qi, Mark D. Kilby, Philip N. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Childhood obesity is a major public health problem with no effective intervention. We explored the influence of feeding patterns on infants’ growth indices within the first 2 years in a twin birth cohort. Dietary intake at 12 months was recorded with a food frequency questionnaire, and dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis. Milk feeding methods in first 6 months were categorised as breastfeeding or exclusive formula feeding. Correlations between feeding patterns and infants’ growth indices were examined via generalised estimating equations. Two dietary patterns were identified and neither of which was related to growth indices. Breastfed infants had a higher body fat mass (BFM) percentage at 12 months, a higher body mass index (BMI) increment from birth to 6 months and a lower BMI increment from 6 to 12 months. Breastfed infants were likely positively correlated with BFM at 12 months; as complementary food was added, the effect of breastfeeding on growth gradually decreased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date19 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China [2018YFC1002900], National Natural Science Foundation of China [81520108013, 81771613 and 82001580], Chongqing Joint Program of Science and Health [2019GDRC012] and Key Disciplines of Medical and Health Research of Yuhang District of Hangzhou City [2017020]. The authors would like to thank all the participants, health professionals and researchers who contributed to this cohort study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Dietary patterns
  • breastfeeding
  • twins
  • infant overweight
  • body fat mass


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