Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Melanie Turk

Committee Member

Melissa Kalarchian

Committee Member

Cheryl Shaffer


Infant Feeding Behaviors, Infant Feeding Type, Infant Weight Status, Latino mother-infant dyad, Maternal Risk Factors


Background: Obesity rates in the US have risen dramatically, especially among Hispanic adults and children. Because of the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in Latino children by preschool age, it is prudent to examine maternal factors potentially linked to weight status during an infant’s first year of life. The literature on risk factors of child obesity has focused primarily on children of Mexican descent, and little research exists for other Latino populations, such as Salvadorans. Objective: To investigate maternal physiologic and infant feeding factors associated with infant overweight and/or obesity in a sample of Salvadoran mother-infant dyads. Methods: A cross-sectional, correlational study, utilizing an ecological framework, was conducted at the 9-12-month well-baby visit in two private pediatric offices on Long Island, New York. Maternal physiologic risk factors and feeding beliefs as well as infant feeding practices during the first 5 months were self-reported by the mothers. Infants birth weight, current weight and recumbent length were retrieved from the electronic charts. Bivariate logistic regression models examined the relationship of the variables with infant weight status, > 85th weight-for-length percentile (WFL) for sex. Results: In this sample of mothers (N=88), 94.3% were born in El Salvador, 92.1% were married, and the mean age was 28.5 years (SD = 5.9 years); 43% of the total sample of infants had a WFL > 85th percentile. After controlling for maternal age, insurance type, income, education, and marital status, no significant associations with infant WFL > 85th percentile at the 9-12-month well-visit were found. Infant feeding practices in the first five months and maternal physiologic risk factors were not associated with infant weight status. Infant birth weight (kg) was the only variable significantly associated with WFL > 85th percentile, p < .05. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine infant weight status in the Salvadoran population. Future studies should objectively investigate infant feeding practices and other potential contributing factors among Salvadoran mother-infant dyads, since nearly half of the infant sample had a WFL > 85th percentile.