Document Type



This study examines the association between infant feeding patterns and growth in length and weight for 6,267 Samoan children bom between 1976 and 1982, and seen by the Well Baby Clinic of the L.B.J. Tropical Medical Center, American Samoa. The visits to the clinic were aggregated by trimester of age during the first year of life. For each trimester, the principal source of milk was determined to be breast, bottle, or mixed (both breast and bottle). Associations between source of milk and weight, weight gain between trimesters, length, and body mass index (BMI) were investigated by analysis of covariance. Source of milk was found to be significantly associated with weight for all but the fourth trimester for boys and all but the second trimester for girls, and with weight gain for all but the second trimester for girls. The pattern is for the breast-fed infants to be heavier and gain weight more rapidly during the first trimester of life, but for bottle-fed infants to gain more rapidly and have higher weights in later trimesters. The average weights and weight gains for all of the groups of infants exceed U.S. medians, and it is suggested that the tendency for rapid weight gain is a primary factor in subsequent Samoan obesity.