The first 1000 days of life, from conception through 24 months, have been recognized as a critical period for obesity development. Research has now shown that obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of metabolic dysfunction and obesity at birth. However, there are significant gaps in knowledge as to the factors that drive excess weight gain during infancy, increasing the risk of childhood and adult obesity. The Following Early Eating in Dyads (FEED) Study aims to address these gaps in knowledge by examining the relationship between maternal feeding styles and practices and infant adiposity.
This project will recruit pregnant women from Tufts Medical Center to participate in the study and the research team will collect measures on maternal-infant dyads from late pregnancy through 3 months post-partum. Validated measures will be used to collect data from mothers on their diet, sleep patterns, stress levels, physical activity and infant feeding practices and styles. Objective measures will be used to evaluate infant adiposity, which is the primary outcome of the study.
This novel study combines Dr. Erin Hennessy’s expertise in infant and early childhood feeding diet with the expertise of Dr. Patrick Catalano, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mother Infant and Research Institute of Tufts University School of Medicine, who is a world-wide expert in obesity, diabetes and metabolism in pregnancy.
The FEED study hopes to broaden the state of the research on maternal and infant to identify modifiable risk factors for early childhood obesity that can be targeted in future interventions.