UTSA researcher: Do children eat less junk food if they’re breastfed longer?
(Feb. 2, 2017) -- Breastfeeding for longer could help some children curb their junk food intake later in life, according to new UTSA research published in Public Health Nutrition.
Dylan B. Jackson, a criminal justice professor in the UTSA College of Public Policy, and his colleague, Kecia R. Johnson of Mississippi State University, studied data from the U.S. Department of Education related to the development of 10,000 American children from birth to age five. They hoped to determine whether infant breastfeeding, paired with family socioeconomics, would impact junk food consumption in children.
Jackson and his collaborator were also interested in examining whether race and ethnicity would affect their research findings, particularly among white, Hispanic and black families.
The researchers used data compiled over several years by the National Center for Education Statistics to review key points during the development of 10,000 children. Between ages nine months and two years, mothers were asked whether they breastfed their child and, if so, for how long. By the time the children were in kindergarten, those same parents were asked to report the frequency of their children’s junk food consumption over a seven-day period.
Junk food, in this case, was defined as fast food, soda/other sugary beverages, salty snacks or sweets. Families were categorized as being low or high in socioeconomic status.
Across racial and ethnic groups, the researchers found that breastfeeding duration had little to no effect on the junk food consumption of children from high socioeconomic families.
However, Jackson and Johnson found that breastfeeding was associated with less frequent junk food consumption among black children of low socioeconomic status.
“Being breastfed was consistently associated with lower junk food intake across all junk food types among black children of low socioeconomic status,” Jackson said. “Black mothers, however, tend to breastfeed less and for shorter durations than other mothers in the sample.”
The researchers urge future studies on the topic to explore the mechanisms that might further explain their findings.
“Black women have historically been the least likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding compared with other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.,” Jackson said. “There are a variety of social, historical and cultural reasons for it. Based on our findings, there are significant and consistent connections between duration of breastfeeding and appetite for junk food among black children of low socioeconomic status, however.”
The researchers hope to identify and promote strategies that assist women in their efforts to breastfeed should be made. Their goal is to create a healthier future for children, particularly black children from low socioeconomic families.
In particular, Jackson and Johnson point to the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) special supplemental nutrition program as a useful point of intervention since black women are often overrepresented among WIC participants. The WIC program also offers breastfeeding peer counseling services, which could serve as an added opportunity for educational, emotional and social support for mothers.
UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.
During the forums, the UTSA community will have the opportunity to hear each finalist give an overview of their qualifications, their interest in the position and their vision, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.Various Locations, Main Campus
Co-sponsored by UTSA, the regional conference provides a venue to bring together scholars in the fields of archaeology, ethnography, art history and the general public to share information on research focused on the cultures of the Mesoamerican region. The conference is free and open to the public.San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., San Antonio
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, FLN 4th floor, Main Campus
Future Roadrunners experience life and opportunities at UTSA during this one day Fall Open House.Various locations, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will welcome historian Gregory Peek of Penn State University and a panel of music scene personalities to recount the Alamo City’s place in the heavy metal landscape.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The UTSA Office of the President and the UTSA College of Public Policy present a discussion on San Antonio’s charter amendments. Event will be livestreamed to UTSA Main Campus, Travis Room – HSU 2.202Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus