Protocol for iGrow (Infant Growth and Development Study): biopsychosocial predictors of childhood obesity risk at 2 years

Esther M. Leerkes, Cheryl Buehler, Susan D. Calkins, Lenka H. Shriver, Laurie Wideman
2020 BMC Public Health  
Background Childhood obesity remains a significant public health problem. To date, most research on the causes and correlates of obesity has focused on a small number of direct predictors of obesity rather than testing complex models that address the multifactorial nature of the origins of obesity in early development. We describe the rationale and methods of iGrow (Infant Growth and Development Study) which will test multiple pathways by which (a) prenatal maternal psychobiological risk
more » ... logical risk predicts infant weight gain over the first 6 months of life, and (b) this early weight gain confers risk for obesity at age 2. Infant hormonal and psychobiological risk are proposed mediators from prenatal risk to early weight gain, though these are moderated by early maternal sensitivity and obesogenic feeding practices. In addition, higher maternal sensitivity and lower obesogenic feeding practices are proposed predictors of adaptive child self-regulation in the second year of life, and all three are proposed to buffer/reduce the association between high early infant weight gain and obesity risk at age 2. Methods iGrow is a prospective, longitudinal community-based study of 300 diverse mothers and infants to be followed across 5 data waves from pregnancy until children are age 2. Key measures include (a) maternal reports of demographics, stress, well-being, feeding practices and child characteristics and health; (b) direct observation of maternal and infant behavior during feeding, play, and distress-eliciting tasks during which infant heart rate is recorded to derive measures of vagal withdrawal; (c) anthropometric measures of mothers and infants; and (d) assays of maternal prenatal blood and infant saliva and urine. A host of demographic and other potential confounds will be considered as potential covariates in structural equation models that include tests of mediation and moderation. Efforts to mitigate the deleterious effects of COVID-19 on study success are detailed. Discussion This study has the potential to inform (1) basic science about early life processes casually related to childhood obesity and (2) development of targeted intervention and prevention approaches that consider mother, infant, and family risks and resources.
doi:10.1186/s12889-020-10003-0 pmid:33317498 fatcat:ojo52yfat5dchj2d2fzcxy5ovm