Early Nutrition and Its Effect on Growth, Body Composition and Later Obesity

Early Nutrition and Its Effect on Growth, Body Composition and Later Obesity

We present to you the ninth chapter of the N&G 2022 Yearbook

Meet the authors, find out more about their topic and download the full book.

Early nutrition and Its Effect on Growth, Body Composition and Later Obesity


Sophie Hilario Christensen, Benedikte Grenov,
Anni Larnkjaer, Christian Mølgaard & Kim F Michaelsen
Sophie Hilario Christensen
Sophie Hilario Christensen
Benedikte Grenov
Benedikte Grenov
Anni Larnkjaer
Anni Larnkjaer
Christian Molgaar
Christian Mølgaard
Kim F Michaelsen


Nutrition and feeding practices in early life are crucial determinants of short- and long-term health. It is well established that breastfeeding is protective against infections during this period [1, 2]. Furthermore, it is increasingly understood to influence the growth and development
of an infant, with early growth in itself uniquely associated with the development of later body composition, metabolic health, and quality of life. As with previous editions of this chapter, we have continued to find the body of literature available to us for summarizing early nutrition research of the past 12 months increasing in both size and quality.
Not only have we seen a steady but welcome shift towards studies focusing on mechanistic understanding, but also a broader advance in analytical techniques (both statistically and in the lab). Of particular note is the seminal perspective article from Christian et al. [3] stressing “The Need to Study Human Milk as a Biological System,” which undoubtedly has and will continue to shape the future of breastfeeding research. For this review we considered two stages of early nutrition: breastfeeding and complementary feeding, and how components of each associate with growth and development through infancy and childhood. We performed a non-systematic literature search using PubMed with the terms “breastmilk [or] human milk [or] complementary [and] growth [or] body composition” published between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Of 984 search results, publications were chosen for inclusion based on their quality, novelty, and/or contribution to further understanding in their field. Those selected have been divided between four categories – three papers each under the categories of “human milk hormones and growth,” “human milk
and body composition,” “human milk oligosaccharides and growth,” and “complementary feeding and risk of overweight.”

Key Referenced Articles

Human Milk Hormones and Infant Growth
Human milk composition differs by maternal BMI in the first 9 months postpartum
Sims CR, Lipsmeyer ME, Turner DE, Andres A
Am J Clin Nutr 2020;112:548–557
Growth factor concentrations in human milk are associated with infant weight and BMI from birth to 5 years
Galante L, Pundir S, Lagström H, Rautava S, Reynolds CM, Milan AM, Cameron-Smith D, Vickers MH
Front Nutr 2020;7:110
Appetite-regulating hormone trajectories and relationships with fat mass development in term-born infants during the first 6 months of life
de Fluiter KS, Kerkhof GF, van Beijsterveldt IALP, Breij LM, van Vark-van der Zee LC, Mulder MT,
Abrahamse-Berkeveld M, Hokken-Koelega ACS
Eur J Nutr 2021;60:3717–3725
Human Milk and Body Composition
Longitudinal human milk macronutrients, body composition and infant appetite during early life
de Fluiter KS, Kerkhof GF, van Beijsterveldt IALP, Breij LM, van de Heijning BJM,
Abrahamse-Berkeveld M, Hokken-Koelega ACS
Clin Nutr 2021;40:3401–3408
Human milk glucocorticoid levels are associated with infant adiposity and head circumference over the first year of life
Pundir S, Gridneva Z, Pillai A, Thorstensen EB, Wall CR, Geddes DT, Cameron-Smith D
Front Nutr 2020;7:166
Human milk immunomodulatory proteins are related to development of infant body composition during the first year of lactation
Gridneva Z, Lai CT, Rea A, Tie WJ, Ward LC, Murray K, Hartmann PE, Geddes DT
Pediatr Res 2021;89:911–921
Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Growth
Human milk oligosaccharide concentrations and infant intakes are associated with maternal overweight and obesity and predict infant growth
Saben JL, Sims CR, Abraham A, Bode L, Andres A
Nutrients 2021;13:446
Human milk oligosaccharides, infant growth, and adiposity over the first 4 months of lactation
Binia A, Lavalle L, Chen C, Austin S, Agosti M, Al-Jashi I, Pereira AB, Costeira MJ, Silva MG,
Marchini G, Martínez-Costa C, Stiris T, Stoicescu SM, Vanpée M, Rakza T, Billeaud C, Picaud JC,
Domellöf M, Adams R, Castaneda-Gutierrez E, Sprenger N
Pediatr Res 2021;90:684–693
Associations of human milk oligosaccharides and bioactive proteins with infant growth and development among Malawian mother-infant dyads
Jorgensen JM, Young R, Ashorn P, Ashorn U, Chaima D, Davis JCC, Goonatilleke E, Kumwenda C,
Lebrilla CB, Maleta K, Prado EL, Sadalaki J, Totten SM, Wu LD, Zivkovic AM, Dewey KG
Am J Clin Nutr 2020;113:209–220
Complementary Feeding and Risk of Overweight
Introduction to complementary feeding in the first year of life and risk of overweight at 24months of age: changes from 2004 to 2015 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohorts
Schneider BC, Gatica-Domínguez G, Assunção MCF, Matijasevich A, Barros AJD, Santos IS, Silveira MF
Br J Nutr 2020;124:620–630
Complementary feeding and overweight in European preschoolers: the ToyBox-Study
Usheva N, Galcheva S, Cardon G, De Craemer M, Androutsos O, Kotowska A, Socha P, Koletzko BV,
Moreno LA, Iotova V, Manios Y, and on Behalf of the ToyBox-Study Group
Nutrients 2021;13:1199
Feeding patterns and BMI trajectories during infancy: a multi-ethnic, prospective birth cohort
Sirkka O, Hof MH, Vrijkotte T, Abrahamse-Berkeveld M, Halberstadt J, Seidell JC, Olthof MR
BMC Pediatrics 2021;21:34

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