Online Program

Maternal smoking, breastfeeding, and risk of overweight and growth during infancy

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Edmond D. Shenassa, ScD, Maternal & Child Health Program, FMSC; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Xiaozhong Wen, M.D.; Ph.D., Pediatrics, State University of Buffalo, New York, Buffalo, NY
Breastfeeding provides infants with nutrients that protect against risk of overweight but can also expose the infant to significant amounts of tobacco compounds when the mother smokes. Thus, a question arises regarding the joint effect of maternal smoking and breastfeeding on risk of overweight and growth during infancy. Methods - We used data (N=23,571) from the Collaborative Perinatal Project to conduct the first study of the net effect of exposure to tobacco compounds via breast milk on growth and risk of overweight during infancy. We stratified infants by maternal smoking and feeding type, and fit interaction terms to isolate the net effect of exposure to tobacco compounds via breast milk from exposure in uterus and in ambient air after birth. Results - The risk of overweight at 1 year of age associated with maternal smoking among breastfed infants was similar with that among bottle-fed infants. The association between maternal smoking and infancy weight gain was marginally greater among breastfed infants (adjusted mean difference, 0.23 kg [95% CI, 0.08 to 0.38]) than among bottle-fed infants (0.14, [95% CI, 0.09 to 0.19]). Conclusions - Among this sample maternal smoking and breastfeeding each appear to be associated primarily with the risk of overweight through influencing the upper tail of the BMI distribution rather than shifting the entire BMI distribution. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of catch-up growth, confounding by SES, and potential biologic pathways.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to distinguish effect of exposure through breast milk from concurrent exposures (e.g., environmental exposures) using only cross-sectional data. Discuss distinction is BMI versus growth when assessing effects of nicotine exposure among infants.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Smoking

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the study and wrote the introduction and discussion sections of the mauscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.