Associations of breastfeeding, diet quality and physical activity with obesity in adolescents

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Shields (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Cheryl Lovelady

Abstract: Breastfed infants have a reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese during childhood compared to formula fed infants. However, there is little evidence to assess whether this protective effect of breastfeeding persists into adolescence. As rates of obesity rise in adolescents, it is important to determine if breastfeeding in early infancy continues to have a protective effect on obesity, while also examining the health behaviors of diet and exercise to see if they are related to Body Mass Index (BMI). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between diet and BMI, physical activity and BMI, and breastfeeding and BMI during adolescence. All analyses were completed with waist circumference (WC) also. Participants were 163 16-year-olds. Dietary intake was determined from three, 24-hr dietary recalls which was used to calculate the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI). Physical activity (PA) was determined using the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire, asking participants the number of times during the past week they completed strenuous, moderate, and mild exercise greater than 15 minutes and calculating a Total Exercise Score (TES). Mothers of participants were asked if they had breastfed their child, and if so, how many months and if supplemented with formula. This was used to calculate breastfeeding intensity. In a multivariate regression analysis examining gender, race, SES, HEI, TES, and breastfeeding, significant predictors of BMI were race and breastfeeding (R2=0.112, p=0.001). For every increase in breastfeeding intensity, BMI decreased by 0.22 units. Non-whites had a 3.14-unit increase in BMI compared to whites. Non-whites had a significantly lower SES, HEI, PA, and breastfeeding intensity than whites. In a multivariate regression analysis examining gender, race, SES, HEI, TES, and breastfeeding, significant predictors of WC were gender and breastfeeding (R2=0.065, p=0.036). For every increase in breastfeeding intensity, WC decreased by 0.48 cm. Males had a 6.87cm increase in WC compared to females. These results suggest that breastfeeding in early infancy may reduce the risk of obesity in adolescence. Race may be such a strong predictor of BMI because non-whites had a lower PA, diet quality, breastfeeding intensity, and SES.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Adolescents, Breastfeeding, Diet Quality, Obesity, Physical Activity
Breastfeeding $x Health aspects
Obesity in children
Teenagers $x Nutrition
Children $x Nutrition

Email this document to