Impact of Maternal Health Behaviours and Social Conditions on Infant Diet at Age 1-Year: Results from a Prospective Indigenous Birth Cohort in Ontario, Canada Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background: Understanding the impact of maternal health behaviours and social conditions on childhood nutrition is important to inform strategies to promote health during childhood. Objective: To describe how maternal health sociodemographic factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, education), health behaviours (e.g., diet), and traditional health care use during pregnancy impact infant diet at age 1-year. Methods: Data were collected from the Indigenous Birth Cohort (ABC) study, a prospective birth cohort formed in partnership with an Indigenous community-based Birthing Centre in southwestern Ontario, Canada. 110 mother-infant dyads are included in the study and were enrolled between 2012 and 2017. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to understand factors associated with infant diet scores at age 1-year, with a higher score indicating a diet with more healthy foods. Results: The mean age of women enrolled during pregnancy was 27.3 (5.9) years. Eighty percent of mothers had low or moderate social disadvantage, 47.3% completed more than high school education, and 70% were cared for by a midwife during their pregnancy. The pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) was <25 in 34.5% of women, 15.5% of mothers smoked during pregnancy, and 14.5% of mothers had gestational diabetes. Being cared for by an Indigenous midwife was associated with a 0.9-point higher infant diet score (p = 0.001) at age 1-year, and lower maternal social disadvantage was associated with a 0.17-point higher infant diet quality score (p = 0.04). Conclusion: This study highlights the positive impact of health care provision by Indigenous midwives and confirms that higher maternal social advantage has a positive impact on child nutrition.


  • Wahi, Gita
  • Wilson, Julie
  • Burning, Melanie
  • George, Stephanie
  • Hill, Phyllis
  • Homer, Janet
  • Jacobs, Laurie
  • Lickers, Ashley
  • Smoke, Sharon
  • Davis, Albertha D
  • Desai, Dipika
  • Jack, Susan
  • Williams, Natalie
  • de Souza, Russell J
  • Anand, Sonia

publication date

  • April 22, 2022