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News: Schneider earns top-ranked abstract distinction from TOS’s Clinical Management Section

January 4, 2017

Camille Schneider, MS, RD

Meal Size and Subsequent Fat Mass Gain in Infants,” by Camille Schneider, MS, RD, graduate student trainee in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) and PhD student in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, has been named a top-ranked abstract by the Clinical Management Section in the recently held The Obesity Society (TOS) Abstract Competition, marking the second year in a row that Ms. Schneider has received recognition from this TOS section for research she conducted.

Ms. Schneider, along with co-investigator Paula C. Chandler-Laney, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, aimed to test the hypothesis that infants who consume larger meals than their counterparts subsequently gain more body fat, but not more fat-free mass (FFM), from 2 weeks to 3 months of age.

A total of 32 healthy, formula-fed infants, born to mothers enrolled in a study of early life origins of obesity, were participants. When the infants were 2 weeks old, mothers were asked to come to the lab with their infants fasted at least 2 hours for a meal test. The volume of formula consumed was determined by pre- and post-test bottle weights, and the amount of kilocalories consumed was calculated. At 2 weeks and 3 months of age, the infants’ length and weight were measured and their body composition was assessed by air displacement plethysmography. Multiple linear regression modeling was used by Ms. Schneider to examine associations of the test meal kilocalorie consumption with the conditional change in infant fat mass and FFM from 2 weeks to 3 months of age, after adjusting for the time since the infants’ previous meal, infant gender, and the number of days between measurements.

The total amount of kilocalories consumed during the meal test at 2 weeks of age was found to be significantly positively associated with conditional fat mass change—but not FFM change—among infants to 3 months of age (partial r=0.47, P<0.05). Conclusions indicate that, as hypothesized, meal volume and kilocalorie consumption were predictive of fat mass, but not FFM, accrual to 3 months of age in a cohort of healthy infants.

“If confirmed in a larger, more diverse cohort, these findings suggest that larger meal size in infancy may contribute to increased fat mass accrual and, ultimately, to future obesity risk,” says Ms. Schneider.