Bottle-feeding is a strong predictor of risk for rapid weight gain during infancy, with previous research illustrating independent and combined effects of milk type (formula vs breast milk) and feeding mode (bottle vs directly from the breast) on increasing infants’ risk for overfeeding, impaired satiety responsiveness, and rapid weight gain. Although reduction of bottle usage through promotion of exclusive breastfeeding is ideal – and has been the focus of many health promotion efforts – bottle-feeding remains a ubiquitous part of infant feeding, especially among populations who are already at higher risk for rapid weight gain and obesity, such as low-income families who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This presentation will review recent research examining mechanisms underlying associations between bottle-feeding and overfeeding leading to rapid weight gain. This presentation will also highlight recent evidence for the effectiveness of an intervention to promote responsive bottle-feeding within WIC for reducing risk for overfeeding and rapid weight gain among WIC infants.
Dr. Alison Ventura, PhD, CLEC, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Public Health at the California Polytechnic State University. She is also Director of the Cal Poly Healthy Kids Lab and Associate Director of Research Training and Fellowship for the Cal Poly Center for Health Research. Dr. Ventura received a BS in Psychology with an emphasis in Biology and a minor in Community Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. She then earned two Master’s degrees from the Pennsylvania State University: one in Nutritional Sciences and the other in Human Development and Family Studies. In 2008, she earned her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. From 2008-2011, Dr. Ventura was a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a taste and smell research institute in Philadelphia, PA. For the past decade, Dr. Ventura’s research has primarily focused on infant feeding interactions and understanding how these interactions affect the development of dietary preferences, eating behaviors, and growth trajectories during infancy and early childhood. She is particularly interested in the bidirectional influences between parents and children – that is, how parents’ beliefs and practices affect children’s behavior and development, as well as how children’s characteristics and behaviors affect parents’ beliefs and practices. Much of Dr. Ventura’s recent work focuses on promotion of responsive feeding during breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and the introduction to complementary foods and beverages.