Date of Award

Spring 1981

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Cathy Caniparoli

Second Advisor

Thomas Hamilton

Third Advisor

Mary Beaudette

Abstract

Obesity is the most important nutritional disorder in the United States today.1 The nursing profession has little need to be reminded of the clinical problem of obesity. There are concerns related to the social unacceptability of obesity as well as the physiological hazards e.g., increased incidence of coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes. Obesity is also the source of profound psychological distress. Because obesity, once established, represents a most intractable clinical problem, efforts at identifying causation and thereby prevention seem to be the likely choice in an attempt to correct this pressing problem. Early infancy, being the time when nutritional habits are being formed and fat cells are developing, seems to be a critical time 2 in preventing this often life-long problem. The basic answer to the question of why babies get fat is a simple one—energy intake exceeds energy output—but this does not begin to unfold the interwoven factors involved in this energy imbalance. In recent years there have been many changes in infant feeding methods "Bottle feeding and the introduction of solid foods as early as the first weeks or months of life has been widely accepted as harmless, but these feeding practices are now suspected of having their own specific effects . . 3 on nutrition. In light of this the problem statement of this research study is, "Do infants who are artificially fed gain more weight during the first six months of life than infants who are breast-fed?" The purpose of the study, then, is to determine if the method of feeding influences weight gain in the first six months of life.

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