Maternal Depression and Infant Weight Gain in a Latino Cohort

Investigator: Janet Wojcicki, MD, MPH
Sponsor: Northern American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

Location(s): United States


Based on data from an ongoing study of a Latino mother-child cohort which indicate an association between maternal depressive symptoms, child feeding practices including early introduction and consumption of sodas and energy dense foods, and lower child weight gain in the first 2 years of life. This K01 grant will provide support for yearly follow-up investigations of this cohort to 7 years of age to evaluate the relationship between early weight gain and the timing of adiposity rebound, as well as recruitment and investigation of a smaller Latino mother-child cohort to evaluate hormonal relationships between maternal depressive symptoms and growth in the offspring. Specifically, this proposal aims to test the primary hypotheses that maternal depression will be associated with 1) reduced weight gain in the first 3 years of life but earlier adiposity rebound 2) increased risk for obesity at 7 years of age in the first cohort and 3) increased risk of insulin resistance, accompanied by reduced growth and adipocyte hormonal levels in the first 2 years of life in the second cohort. The availability of the proposed cohorts, and my training plan under the guidance of my mentors, will facilitate my development as an independent investigator and an expert in the nutrition and endocrinology of child obesity and growth including the relationship between maternal psychological factors, maternal infant and child feeding practices and the child's hormonal milieu. I will complete a masters program in Maternal Child Nutrition at UC Davis which will involve formal coursework in the nutrition and endocrinology of growth and obesity, and engage in a program of directed readings and attendance at research seminars under the direction of my team of mentors in pediattric [sic] nutrition, endocrinology and biostatistics. The proposed training and research plan will prepare me to become expert in the nutrition and endocrinology of pediatric obesity, and to generate important longitudinal data on the relationship between maternal psychological factors and infant and child weight gain.

Pediatric obesity has reached unprecedented rates in the United States, and is especially prevalent in the Latino community. Problems of obesity in children and adults are often associated with psychological and behavioral co-morbidities. In infants and preschool children, maternal depression is associated with poor weight gain and problems of growth and development. The long-term implications of child early exposure to maternal depression have not be [sic] evaluated longitudinally.