Characterization of a Vigorous sucking style in early infancy and its predictive value for weight gain and eating behaviors at 12 months.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2023.106525


This study sought to identify sucking profiles among healthy, full-term infants and assess their predictive value for future weight gain and eating behaviors. Pressure waves of infant sucking were captured during a typical feeding at age 4 months and quantified via 14 metrics. Anthropometry was measured at 4 and 12 months, and eating behaviors were measured by parent report via the Children's Eating Behavior Questionnaire-Toddler (CEBQ-T) at 12 months. Sucking profiles were created using a clustering approach on the pressure wave metrics, and utility of these profiles was assessed for predicting which infants will have weight-for-age (WFA) percentile changes from ages 4-12 months that exceed thresholds of 5, 10, and 15 percentiles, and for estimating each CEBQ-T subscale score. Among 114 infants, three sucking profiles were identified: Vigorous (51%), Capable (28%), and Leisurely (21%). Sucking profiles were found to improve estimation of change in WFA from 4 to 12 months and 12-month maternal-reported eating behaviors above infant sex, race/ethnicity, birthweight, gestational age, and pre-pregnancy body mass index alone. Infants with a Vigorous sucking profile gained significantly more weight during the study period than infants with a Leisurely profile. Infant sucking characteristics may aid in predicting which infants may be at greater risk of obesity, and therefore sucking profiles deserve more investigation.

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MeSH Keywords

Female; Pregnancy; Infant; Humans; Feeding Behavior; Eating; Weight Gain; Obesity; Body Mass Index


Eating behavior; Infant weight gain; Obesity; Sucking

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