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Nutrition and Food Sciences


Little is known about the impact of less healthy snack foods on weight trajectories during infancy. This secondary analysis of data from the Nurture cohort explored prospective associations of less healthy snack foods with infant weight trajectories. Pregnant women were recruited and, upon delivery of a single live infant, 666 mothers agreed to participate. Mothers completed sociodemographic and infant feeding questionnaires, and infant anthropometrics were collected during home visits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Less healthy snack food consumption was assessed by asking how frequently baby snacks and sweets were consumed each day during the previous three months. Multilevel growth curve models explored associations of baby snacks and sweets with infant weight-for-length (WFL) z-scores. On average, mothers were 27 years old, 71.5% were non-Hispanic Black, and 55.4% had household incomes of ≤$20,000/year. Consumption of less healthy snack foods increased during infancy with a median intake of 3.0 baby snacks/day and 0.7 sweets/day between 10 and 12 months. Growth curve models showed that infants who consumed sweets >2 times/day had significantly higher WFL z-scores during the second half of infancy compared to infants who never consumed sweets. Less healthy snacks may contribute to the risk of obesity during infancy and promoting healthy snack food choices during this critical time is important.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Amy M. Moore, Maya Vadiveloo and Alison Tovar are from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Karen M. McCurdy is from the Department of Human Development and Family Services.