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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2012, Article ID 354060, 8 pages
Research Article

Postnatal Growth Patterns in a Chilean Cohort: The Role of SES and Family Environment

1Division of Child Development and Community Health, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive No. 0927, La Jolla, CA 92093-0927, USA
2Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, El Líbano 5524, Santiago, Chile
3Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 300 North Ingalls, 10th Floor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5406, USA

Received 15 December 2011; Revised 18 February 2012; Accepted 4 March 2012

Academic Editor: Tessa J. Roseboom

Copyright © 2012 D. E. Kang Sim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. This study examined how family environmental characteristics served as mediators in the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and infant growth in a cohort of Chilean infants. Methods. We studied 999 infants, born between 1991 and 1996, from a longitudinal cohort which began as an iron deficiency anemia preventive trial. SES (Graffar Index), the Life Experiences Survey, and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) were assessed in infancy. Using path analysis, we assessed the relationships between the social factors, home environment, and infant growth. Results. During the first year, weight and length gain averaged 540 grams/month and 6.5 cm/month, respectively. In the path analysis model for weight gain, higher SES and a better physical environment were positively related to higher maternal warmth, which in turn was associated with higher average weight gain. Higher SES was directly related to higher average length gain. Conclusions. In our cohort, a direct relationship between SES and length gain developed during infancy. Higher SES was indirectly related to infant weight gain through the home environment and maternal warmth. As the fastest growing infants are at risk for later obesity, new strategies are needed to encourage optimal rather than maximal growth.