OBJECTIVE:

To examine parental reports of feeding and activity behaviors in a cohort of parents of 2-month-olds and how they differ by race/ethnicity.

METHODS:

Parents participating in Greenlight, a cluster, randomized trial of obesity prevention at 4 health centers, were queried at enrollment about feeding and activity behaviors thought to increase obesity risk. Unadjusted associations between race/ethnicity and the outcomes of interest were performed by using Pearson χ2 and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Adjusted analyses were performed by using proportional odds logistic regressions.

RESULTS:

Eight hundred sixty-three parents (50% Hispanic, 27% black, 18% white; 86% Medicaid) were enrolled. Exclusive formula feeding was more than twice as common (45%) as exclusive breastfeeding (19%); 12% had already introduced solid food; 43% put infants to bed with bottles; 23% propped bottles; 20% always fed when the infant cried; 38% always tried to get children to finish milk; 90% were exposed to television (mean, 346 minutes/day); 50% reported active television watching (mean, 25 minutes/day); and 66% did not meet “tummy time” recommendations. Compared with white parents, black parents were more likely to put children to bed with a bottle (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.97, P < .004; bottle propping, aOR = 3.1, P < .001), and report more television watching (aOR = 1.6, P = .034). Hispanic parents were more likely than white parents to encourage children to finish feeding (aOR = 1.9, P = .007), bottle propping (aOR = 2.5, P = .009), and report less tummy time (aOR = 0.6, P = .037).

CONCLUSIONS:

Behaviors thought to relate to later obesity were highly prevalent in this large, diverse sample and varied by race/ethnicity, suggesting the importance of early and culturally-adapted interventions.

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