The Association Between Birth Weight and Fat, Sugar, and Vegetable Consumption in a National Sample of U.S. Preschool Age Children

Kacey Potis, Emily H. Youngers, Thomas K. Tandy, Erin Takemoto, Janne Boone-Heinonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Adverse prenatal development is a contributor to obesity susceptibility in children. Dietary behavior is one mechanism through which adverse prenatal development may promote obesity, but evidence for the role of prenatal overnutrition in dietary intake in young children is scant. Methods: We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2014. Our study sample included 1782 U.S. children 2–5 years old with available birth weight and two 24-h dietary recalls. We used linear and Poisson regression to examine the association of birth weight (LBW < 2500 g, HBW > 4100 g) and 2-day average intake of dietary variables. We tested interactions between birthweight and breastfeeding (breastfed > 5 months vs. not breastfed or breastfed 0–5 months), and report breastfeeding-specific results. Results: In multivariable regression analysis, in boys, LBW was associated with 2.4 (95% CI − 4.3, − 0.5) lower percent of kcal from solid fat; lower sugar intake, marginally lower saturated and total fat intake, and 0.6 cup (95% CI 0.1, 1.0) greater vegetable consumption; HBW was marginally associated with lower fat. Birth weight was unrelated to diet in girls. Breastfeeding modified associations between birth weight and dietary intake, but the direction of modification was mixed. Discussion: Our findings do not support the hypothesis that LBW or HBW are associated with adverse diet consumption in preschool age U.S. children. Improved understanding of the role of early life development of dietary behavior requires further research on the development of appetitive traits and the role of the family and preschool food environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1056
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Birth weight
  • Breast feeding
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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