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Protein Intake During Infancy and Subsequent Body Mass Index in Early Childhood: Results from the Melbourne InFANT Program

  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    † Both authors share equal authorship of this article.
    Miaobing Zheng
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Miaobing Zheng, PhD, APD, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, 3125.
    Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    † Both authors share equal authorship of this article.
    Affiliations
    Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    † Both authors share equal authorship of this article.
    Hong-Jie Yu
    Footnotes
    † Both authors share equal authorship of this article.
    Affiliations
    School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China
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  • Qi-Qiang He
    Affiliations
    School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China
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  • Berit L. Heitmann
    Affiliations
    The Parker Institute, Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark

    Section for general Practise, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    Anna Rangan
    Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    Affiliations
    School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    Sarah A. McNaughton
    Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    Affiliations
    Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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  • Karen J. Campbell
    Affiliations
    Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dietitians Associations of Australia.
    † Both authors share equal authorship of this article.
Published:April 07, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2021.02.022

      Abstract

      Background

      The link between high protein intake during infancy and obesity later in childhood has been much debated, and the association with differing protein sources remains unclear.

      Objective

      This study aimed to examine the associations between total protein intake and protein from different sources (ie, nondairy animal, dairy, and plant) reported at age 9 months and development in body mass index (BMI) z scores until age 5 years.

      Design

      This study involved a secondary data analysis of the Melbourne InFANT (Infant Feeding, Activity and Nutrition Trial) program, an observational prospective cohort study that was conducted from 2008 to 2013.

      Participants/setting

      Participants were children (n = 345) who completed both the 9-month and 5-year follow-up visits within the Melbourne InFANT program.

      Main outcome measures

      BMI z score was measured at age 5 years.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Linear mixed models with a random effect for clusters of mother’s group and with adjustment for baseline child and maternal covariates were conducted.

      Results

      With adjustment for covariates, every 1 g or 1% energy increase in total protein intake at age 9 months was associated with a 0.016-unit (95% CI 0.003 to 0.029) or 0.034-unit (95% CI 0.005 to 0.063) increase in BMI z score at age 5 years, respectively. With respect to protein sources, associations of similar magnitude were found for nondairy animal protein. No evidence of an association with BMI z score was found for dairy (including milk, yogurt, cheese, breast milk, and infant formula) and plant proteins.

      Conclusions

      High intakes of total protein, nondairy animal protein, but not dairy or plant proteins, during infancy were associated with higher BMI z score in early childhood. These findings can inform dietary recommendations regarding protein intakes during infancy.

      Clinical trial registration

      The InFANT program was registered with Current Controlled Trials (ISRCTN81847050); http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN81847050.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      M. Zheng is a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Research Fellow, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

      Biography

      H.-J. Yu is a PhD candidate, School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.

      Biography

      Q.-Q. He is a vice dean, School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.

      Biography

      B. L. Heitmann is a professor, The Parker Institute, Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark; and a clinical professor, Section for General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

      Biography

      A. Rangan is an associate professor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

      Biography

      S. A. McNaughton is a professor, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

      Biography

      K. J. Campbell is a professor, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.