Trial on Timing of Introduction to Solids and Food Type on Infant Growth

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Age Factors, Body Composition, Body Constitution, Bone Density, Energy Intake, Growth, Humans, Infant, Infant Care, Infant Food


OBJECTIVE: The optimal time and choice of solid foods to introduce to an infant's diet is unknown. The aim of this randomized trial was to determine whether early versus late introduction of solid foods and commercially prepared versus parent's choice of solid foods affects growth or body composition in the first year.

METHODS: White infants (n = 165) were recruited before 3 months of age and were randomized to receive: 1) commercially prepared solid foods (commercial) from 3 to 12 months, 2) commercially prepared solid foods from 6 to 12 months, 3) parent's choice of solid foods (choice) from 3 to 12 months, or 4) parent's choice of solid foods from 6 to 12 months. Anthropometrics and body composition, using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, were determined at 3, 6, and 12 months. Three-day diet diaries were completed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

RESULTS: There were no differences in growth or body composition between infants in early versus late introduction groups or commercial versus choice groups at any age. The total energy intake was not different among infants in the early compared with the late group at any age. Infants in the commercial group consumed less protein calories at 9 months (80 +/- 3 kcal/d vs 88 +/- 3 kcal/d) and 12 months 101 +/- 5 kcal/d vs 148 +/- 5 kcal/d), less fat calories at 12 months (263 +/- 10 kcal/d vs 343 +/- 10 kcal/d), and less total calories at 12 months (884 +/- 24 kcal/d vs 1022 +/- 25 kcal/d) compared with the choice group.

CONCLUSION: The early introduction of solid foods to an infant's diet does not alter growth or body composition during the first year of life and results in a displacement of energy intake from formula. Infants consuming commercially prepared foods have a decreased caloric intake from protein and fat; however, despite this difference, there is no effect on growth or body composition.

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American Academy of Pediatrics