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Is infant temperament associated with future risk of childhood obesity?

March 11, 2019

Bottom Line: This observational study looked at whether the temperament of infants born to mothers with gestational diabetes was associated with future risk of childhood obesity at ages 2 to 5 years. Children whose mothers develop diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to become obese but how infant temperament might influence the development of obesity in this population isn't clear. In healthy populations, the evidence for the influence of infant temperament on child weight status has been mixed. Participants in this study included 382 mother-infant pairs who filled out a survey to assess infant temperament at ages 2 to 6 months. Findings suggest elevated soothability (children who are easily soothed have elevated soothability) was associated with increased likelihood of early childhood obesity. Infant temperaments of elevated soothability and activity also were associated with the early introduction of fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages before the age of 6 months and shorter breastfeeding duration. Explanations for why elevated soothability might contribute to obesity risk still need to be identified.

Authors: Myles S. Faith, Ph.D., of University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, and Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., R.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, Oakland, California, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5199)

Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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JAMA Pediatrics

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