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The first months of life set the course of a child’s health. How effective is an intervention at improving weight outcomes in the infant and use of postpartum care by the mother?
The first 1000 days of a child’s life has become increasingly seen as a crucial time to shape lifelong health outcomes and habits. This may be particularly true with regards to nutrition, as the period sets dietary habits and cover key points in brain development. An intervention was used to see how it would impact the prevalence of an overweight infant as well as the mother’s postpartum weight retention and care.1
The investigators examined the effects of the First 1000 Days program among 995 term, low-income infants as well as their mothers who received care at 2 intervention community health centers. There were 650 infant/mother pairs at 2 comparison health centers for control purposes. The pairs in the control arm received usual care. At the intervention centers, there was staff training, health, and behavioral screening, patient navigating, educational materials, health coaching, growth tracking, and text messaging. Infants were assessed at 6 and 12 months of age.
The average birth weight was 3.34 kg. Two-thirds of the infant/mother pairs were publicly insured. At 6 months, the infants in intervention group had lower weight-for length z scores (β: −.27; 95% CI: −.39 to −.15) as well as lower odds of overweight (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.76) than the infants who were seen at the comparison sites. These differences were maintained through the 12 month assessment (z score β: −.18; 95% CI: −.30 to −.07; adjusted OR for overweight: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.39 to 0.92). Mothers who were part of the intervention program were found to have lower weight retention, noted as nonsignificant, when they were seen 6 weeks’ postpartum (β: −.51 kg; 95% CI: −1.15 to .13). Furthermore, the mothers had higher odds of having a postpartum visit than the mothers in the control sites.
The investigators concluded that the intervention, when used in combination with coaching appeared to be linked to improvements in both maternal postpartum care as well as infant weight status.
1. Taveras E, Perkins M, Boudreau A, et al. Twelve-Month outcomes of the first 1000 days program on infant weight status. Pediatrics. July 29, 2021. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-046706