Baby’s Diet Influenced By Mom’s Socioeconomic Background

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By: Brenda Neugent

Babies born to women who make more money are also more likely to get more nutrients from their diets, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Buffalo.

Researchers analyzed data from the two-year Infant Feeding Practices Study, which followed about 1,500 babies aged 6 to 12 months. They found that the socioeconomic status and educational background of a baby’s mother both significantly influenced the baby’s diet.

Data showed that children born into families with household incomes of $60,000 or more, were more likely to be fed important nutrients according to recommended guidelines. While babies born to mothers below the poverty line were more likely to eat a diet high in fat, sugar and proteins. Babies born to moms living in households that took in less than $25,000 a year were also more likely to rely on cereal and dairy as main food sources; researchers said.

Because taste preferences and habits are fairly firmly established during this critical time period, the findings have serious implications given the growing number of cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes among American children, especially America’s poor.

“There is substantial research to suggest that if you consistently offer foods with a particular taste to infants, they will show a preference for these foods later in life,”. Said lead author Xiaozhong Wen, an assistant professor at the school’s Department of Pediatrics. “So if you tend to offer healthy foods, even those with a somewhat bitter taste to infants, such as pureed vegetables, they will develop a liking for them. However, if you always offer sweet or fatty foods, infants will develop a stronger preference for them or even an addiction to them.”

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