Household Structure and Infant Feeding Behavior among Low-Income African Americans
Judith B. Borja, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jean Hamilton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Michelle Mendez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Margaret Bentley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carby-Shields Kenitra, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
While substantial research has explored how household structure may influence numerous domains of child well-being, data are more limited with respect to effects on current diet and feeding patterns in the U.S. This study of low-income African Americans--a population at high risk of obesity--explores whether household structure is related to infant feeding behaviors that may promote rapid weight gain in early life and increase the long-term risk of obesity. We found that compared to households with grandmothers or fathers, single mother households were less likely to exhibit feeding behaviors (e.g. talking to the child to encourage eating) thought to promote appropriate eating. However, we found no difference across all household types in other behaviors which could promote obesity (e.g. trying to get the child to finish his/her food). Further research is needed to confirm our preliminary results and to ascertain which behaviors may be normative in this population.