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Title: Associations between infant feeding, mother-child feeding interactions and weight gain
Author: Sloan, Seaneen
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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Within the context of increasing prevalence of childhood obesity over a number of decades, alongside a trend towards increasingly 'obesogenic' environments, this thesis explored cross-sectional and prospective relationships between maternal feeding behaviour and child adiposity at age one year and at age five years. The research aims were addressed over two empirical studies. Study 1 collected data on breastfeeding through structured interviews with mothers (N=290) of one-year-old infants, observed mother-infant feeding interactions, and measured infant weight and length. Study 2 followed up the same sample (N=197) through a survey at age five, to examine cross-sectional relationships between maternal feeding behaviours (both practices and styles), child eating behaviours, and child adiposity (Study 2 Part A) as well as longitudinal associations with breastfeeding, maternal feeding behaviours and adiposity in infancy (Study 2 Part B). Age five height and weight were provided by a child health administrative database. Several limitations in the current knowledge base were also addressed, including the over-reliance on maternal self-report of feeding behaviour, the relative paucity of research examining the role of breastfeeding, and the lack of prospective studies beginning in infancy. Overall, findings suggest that feeding practices may be a response to child attributes (in terms of adiposity and eating behaviour), rather than a cause. Further, feeding practices are distinguishable from 'feeding styles', which are established early and may not function as a response to child attributes. Findings suggest that breastfeeding may promote a more responsive feeding style, as mothers are accustomed to sharing control over food intake with their child. This effect may extend into later infancy, during the transition to family meals and self-feeding, and may, in turn, facilitate appetite regulation over the short- and longer-term, which protects against excess weight gain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available