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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 568.
Published online 2012 July 28. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-568
PMCID: PMC3487749

A summary index of infant and child feeding practices is associated with child growth in urban Shanghai



Recently, an infant and child feeding index (ICFI) constructed on brief recalls of breastfeeding, feeding frequency and food diversification was assumed to provide long-term prediction about child feeding practices. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the cross-sectional ICFI (CS-ICFI) or longitudinal ICFI (L-ICFI) and child anthropometric indices in downtown Shanghai, China.


The prospective cohort study included 180 infants aged 5-7 mo with their main caregivers who were visited 3 times every 6 months over 12 months. A CS-ICFI was constructed for each visit by using data on feeding practices based on 24-h and 7-d recalls. An L-ICFI was constructed with use of the 3 CS-ICFIs. The associations between ICFI and length-for-age z score (LAZ), weight-for-age z score (WAZ), and weight-for-length z score (WLZ) were examined. The stability of the CS-ICFI was assessed by using repeatability coefficient (RC).


The L-ICFI was positively associated with LAZ and WAZ at Visit 3(beta = 0.151, P = 0.040 and beta = 0.173, P = 0.024, respectively). Moreover, the CS-ICFI at Visit 1 was positively associated with LAZ, WAZ and WLZ (beta = 0.160, P = 0.029; beta = 0.191, P = 0.009; beta = 0.176, P = 0.020) at Visit 3, and the CS-ICFI at Visit 3 was also positively associated with LAZ (beta = 0.176, P = 0.016). Stability of the CS-ICFI was shown by the value of 0.14 (95% CI: 0.07, 0.31) of the RC, which differed significantly from 0 (P < 0.05).


The ICFI constructed on brief recalls based on cross-sectional studies can be used to evaluate the effects of child feeding practice on child growth.

Keywords: Child feeding practice, Brief recalls, Anthropometric indices, Repeatability coefficient

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