The timing of introduction of complementary foods and the duration of breastfeeding (BF) have been independently associated with child overweight and obesity; however, their combined influence on body fat partitioning and cardiometabolic risk is unclear.
We investigated the associations of the timing of introduction of complementary foods, the duration of BF, and their interaction with child adiposity and cardiometabolic risk markers.
We analyzed data from 839 children in the prospective Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort. Mothers reported the age at which infants were first fed complementary foods and BF duration, classified as early (≤4 mo) versus typical (>4 mo) complementary feeding (CF) and short (≤4 mo) versus long (>4 mo) duration of any BF, respectively. We measured adiposity and cardiometabolic risk markers at the age of 6 y and examined their associations with infant feeding patterns using multiple regression, adjusting for sociodemographics, parents' body mass index (BMI), maternal factors, birth weight for gestational age, and infant weight gain.
Of 839 children, 18% experienced early CF, whereas 54% experienced short BF. Short (vs. long) BF and early (vs. typical) CF were independently associated with higher z-scores of BMI [β (95% confidence interval), short BF, 0.18 standard deviation score (SDS) (-0.01, 0.38); early CF, 0.34 SDS (0.11, 0.57)] and sum of skinfolds [short BF, 1.83 mm (0.05, 3.61); early CF, 2.73 mm (0.55, 4.91)]. Children who experienced both early CF and short BF (vs. typical CF-long BF) had synergistically higher diastolic blood pressure [1.41 mmHg (-0.15, 2.97), P-interaction = 0.023] and metabolic syndrome score [0.81 (0.16, 1.47), P-interaction = 0.081]. Early CF-long BF (vs. early CF-short BF) was associated with a lower systolic blood pressure [-3.74 mmHg (-7.01, -0.48)], diastolic blood pressure [-2.29 mmHg (-4.47, -0.11)], and metabolic syndrome score [-0.90 (-1.80, 0.00)].
A combination of early CF and short BF was associated with elevated child adiposity and cardiometabolic markers. Longer BF duration may protect against cardiometabolic risk associated with early CF. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01174875.