Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1043763)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Associations Between Temperament at Age 1.5 Years and Obesogenic Diet at Ages 3 and 7 Years 
To investigate whether temperament in 1.5-year-olds predicts their consumption of potentially obesogenic foods and drinks at ages 3 and 7 years.
Participants were 6 997 mothers and infants from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Questionnaires were collected during pregnancy, at birth, and at child ages 6 months and 1.5, 3, and 7 years. Predictor variables: children’s temperament at age 1.5 (internalizing, externalizing, surgent) and mothers’ negative affectivity. Outcome variables: children’s consumption of sweet foods, sweet drinks, and fruits/vegetables at ages 3 and 7 (dichotomized at the 85th percentile).
Controlling for covariates, internalizing 1.5-year-olds (anxious, dependent) were 77% and 63% more likely to consume sweet drinks daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively; they were 55% and 43% more likely to consume sweet foods daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. Externalizing 1.5-year-olds (hyperactive, aggressive) were 34% more likely to consume sweet drinks daily at age 7, 39% and 44% more likely to consume sweet foods daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively, and they were 47% and 33% less likely to consume fruits/vegetables daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. Surgent 1.5-year-olds (active, sociable) were 197% and 78% more likely to consume two portions of fruits/vegetables daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. The association of maternal negative affectivity was limited to the child’s consumption of sweet foods at 3 and 7 years.
Early child temperament is a risk factor for obesogenic diet in later childhood. Mechanisms explaining this association need to be explored.
PMCID: PMC3492946  PMID: 23117597
child; temperament; obesity; diet; eating
2.  Children and Eating: Personality and Gender are Associated with Obesogenic Food Consumption and Overweight in 6- to 12-Year-Olds 
Appetite  2012;58(3):1113-1117.
The role of children's personality traits in the consumption of potentially obesogenic foods was investigated in a sample of Norwegian children aged 6–12 years (N = 327, 170 boys, 157 girls). Mothers rated their child's personality on the traits of the Five Factor Model (i.e., Extraversion, Benevolence, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Imagination). Mothers also completed a food frequency questionnaire assessing their child's consumption of sweet drinks, sweet foods, and fruit and vegetables, and reported their child's height and weight. Controlling for age and mothers' education, boys and girls who were less benevolent consumed more sweet drinks, and girls who were less conscientious and more neurotic consumed more sweet drinks. Boys and girls who were more benevolent and imaginative consumed more fruits and vegetables, and boys who were more extraverted, more conscientious, and less neurotic consumed more fruits and vegetables. Controlling for maternal education, boys and girls who were less extraverted, and girls who were less benevolent, less conscientious, and more neurotic were more likely to be overweight or obese. These findings suggest that children's personality traits play an important yet understudied role in their diet. Further investigation of mechanisms that relate child traits to obesogenic eating and overweight would be valuable.
PMCID: PMC3340452  PMID: 22425617
Eating; diet; food consumption; weight; obesity; personality; temperament; behavior problems; gender; children
3.  More than Just a Pretty Face: The Relationship between Infant’s Temperament, Food Acceptance, and Mothers’ Perceptions of their Enjoyment of Food 
Appetite  2012;58(3):1136-1142.
The goal of the present study was to determine whether mothers’ assessment of their infants’ temperament is associated with objective measures of their infant’s acceptance patterns and their judgments of their infants' liking of a green vegetable. To this end, infants (N=92) were video-recorded as their mothers fed them green beans. From these videos, we determined the frequency of facial distaste expressions made during the first two minutes of the feeding. Other measures included intake, maternal ratings of infants’ enjoyment of this vegetable, and temperament. Infants who scored high on the approach dimension of the temperament questionnaire were less likely to express facial expressions of distaste, consumed more food, and were perceived by their mothers as enjoying the food more. Mediation analyses revealed that ratings of enjoyment were not directly related to the child’s approach temperament, but rather the relationship between mothers’ ratings and temperament was mediated by the amount of time infants spent eating the vegetable. Regression analyses suggested that in addition to the length of time children ate, mothers’ ratings of their infants’ enjoyment was predicted by the number of squints that the infant expressed during the meal. These findings suggest that although certain aspects of children’s temperament are related to their food acceptance mothers attend to facial expressions and time spent eating independently of these temperamental characteristics when judging their infant’s enjoyment of a food. Understanding how mothers use this information to decide which foods to feed their infants is an important area for future research.
PMCID: PMC3340480  PMID: 22407135
feeding; facial reactivity; FACS; temperament; green vegetables; nutrition; mother-infant interactions
4.  Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Bitter Perception and Sweet Preferences 
Pediatrics  2005;115(2):e216-e222.
Flavor is the primary dimension by which young children determine food acceptance. However, children are not merely miniature adults because sensory systems mature postnatally and their responses to certain tastes differ markedly from adults. Among these differences are heightened preferences for sweet-tasting and greater rejection of bitter-tasting foods. The present study tests the hypothesis that genetic variations in the newly discovered TAS2R38 taste gene as well as cultural differences are associated with differences in sensitivity to the bitter taste of propylthiouracil (PROP) and preferences for sucrose and sweet-tasting foods and beverages in children and adults.
Genomic DNA was extracted from cheek cells of a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 143 children and their mothers. Alleles of the gene TAS2R38 were genotyped. Participants were grouped by the first variant site, denoted A49P, because the allele predicts a change from the amino acid alanine (A) to proline (P) at position 49. Henceforth, individuals who were homozygous for the bitter-insensitive allele are referred to as AA, those who were heterozygous for the bitter-insensitive allele are referred to as AP, and those who were homozygous for the bitter-sensitive allele are referred to as PP. Using identical procedures for children and mothers, PROP sensitivity and sucrose preferences were assessed by using forced-choice procedures that were embedded in the context of games that minimized the impact of language development and were sensitive to the cognitive limitations of pediatric populations. Participants were also asked about their preferences in cereals and beverages, and mothers completed a standardized questionnaire that measured various dimensions of their children’s temperament.
Genetic variation of the A49P allele influenced bitter perception in children and adults. However, the phenotype-genotype relationship was modified by age such that 64% of heterozygous children, but only 43% of the heterozygous mothers, were sensitive to the lowest concentration (56 micromoles/liter) of PROP. Genotypes at the TAS2R38 locus were significantly related to preferences for sucrose and for sweet-tasting beverages and foods such as cereals in children. AP and PP children preferred significantly higher concentrations of sucrose solutions than did AA children. They were also significantly less likely to include milk or water as 1 of their 2 favorite beverages (18.6% vs 40%) and were more likely to include carbonated beverages as 1 of their most preferred beverages (46.4% vs 28.9%). PP children liked cereals and beverages with a significantly higher sugar content. There were also significant main effects of race/ ethnicity on preferences and food habits. As a group, black children liked cereals with a significantly higher sugar content than did white children, and they were also significantly more likely to report that they added sugar to their cereals.
Unlike children, there was no correspondence between TAS2R38 genotypes and sweet preference in adults. Here, the effects of race/ethnicity were the strongest determinants, thus suggesting that cultural forces and experience may override this genotype effect on sweet preferences. Differences in taste experiences also affected mother–child interaction, especially when the 2 resided in different sensory worlds. That is, children who had 1 or 2 bitter-sensitive alleles, but whose mothers had none, were perceived by their mothers as being more emotional than children who had no bitter-sensitive alleles.
Variations in a taste receptor gene accounted for a major portion of individual differences in PROP bitterness perception in both children and adults, as well as a portion of individual differences in preferences for sweet flavors in children but not in adults. These findings underscore the advantages of studying genotype effects on behavioral outcomes in children, especially as they relate to taste preferences because cultural forces may sometimes override the A49P genotypic effects in adults. New knowledge about the molecular basis of food likes and dislikes in children, a generation that will struggle with obesity and diabetes, may suggest strategies to overcome diet-induced diseases.
PMCID: PMC1397914  PMID: 15687429
children; genetic predisposition; racial differences; taste; temperament; PTC, phenylthiocarbamide; PROP, propylthiouracil
5.  Two-Year Morbidity–Mortality and Alternatives to Prolonged Breast-Feeding among Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers in Côte d'Ivoire 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e17.
Little is known about the long-term safety of infant feeding interventions aimed at reducing breast milk HIV transmission in Africa.
Methods and Findings
In 2001–2005, HIV-infected pregnant women having received in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, a peripartum antiretroviral prophylaxis were presented antenatally with infant feeding interventions: either artificial feeding, or exclusive breast-feeding and then early cessation from 4 mo of age. Nutritional counseling and clinical management were provided for 2 y. Breast-milk substitutes were provided for free. The primary outcome was the occurrence of adverse health outcomes in children, defined as validated morbid events (diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, or malnutrition) or severe events (hospitalization or death). Hazards ratios to compare formula-fed versus short-term breast-fed (reference) children were adjusted for confounders (baseline covariates and pediatric HIV status as a time-dependant covariate). The 18-mo mortality rates were also compared to those observed in the Ditrame historical trial, which was conducted at the same sites in 1995–1998, and in which long-term breast-feeding was practiced in the absence of any specific infant feeding intervention. Of the 557 live-born children, 262 (47%) were breast-fed for a median of 4 mo, whereas 295 were formula-fed. Over the 2-y follow-up period, 37% of the formula-fed and 34% of the short-term breast-fed children remained free from any adverse health outcome (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87–1.38; p = 0.43). The 2-y probability of presenting with a severe event was the same among formula-fed (14%) and short-term breast-fed children (15%) (adjusted HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.75–1.91; p = 0.44). An overall 18-mo probability of survival of 96% was observed among both HIV-uninfected short-term and formula-fed children, which was similar to the 95% probability observed in the long-term breast-fed ones of the Ditrame trial.
The 2-y rates of adverse health outcomes were similar among short-term breast-fed and formula-fed children. Mortality rates did not differ significantly between these two groups and, after adjustment for pediatric HIV status, were similar to those observed among long-term breast-fed children. Given appropriate nutritional counseling and care, access to clean water, and a supply of breast-milk substitutes, these alternatives to prolonged breast-feeding can be safe interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in urban African settings.
Given appropriate nutritional counseling and care, access to clean water, and supply of breast milk substitutes, replacing prolonged breast-feeding with formula-feeding appears to be a safe intervention to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in this setting.
Editors' Summary
The HIV virus can be transmitted from infected mothers to their babies during pregnancy and birth as well as after birth through breast milk. Mother-to-child transmission in developed countries has been all but eliminated by treatment of mothers with the best available combination of antiretroviral drugs and by asking them to avoid breast-feeding. However, in many developing countries, the best drug treatments are not available to mothers. Moreover, breast-feeding is generally the best nutritional choice for infants, especially in areas where resources such as clean water, formula feed, and provision of healthcare are scarce. And even if formula feed is available, formula-fed babies might be at higher risk of dying from diarrhea and chest infections, which are more common in infants who are not breast-fed. International guidelines say that HIV-positive mothers should avoid all breast-feeding and adopt formula feeding instead if this option is practical and safe for them, which would require that they can afford formula feed and have easy access to clean water. If formula-feeding is not feasible, guidelines recommend that mothers should breast-feed only for the first few months and then stop and switch the baby to solid food. One of these two alternative options should be feasible in most African cities if mothers are given the right support.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several completed and ongoing studies are assessing the relative risks and benefits of the two recommended strategies for different developing country locations, and this is one of them. The study, the “Ditrame Plus” trial by researchers from France and Côte d'Ivoire, was conducted in Abidjan, an urban West African setting. The goal was to compare death rates and rates of certain diseases (such as diarrhea and chest infections) between babies born to HIV-positive mothers that were formula-fed and those that were breast-fed for a short time after birth.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
HIV-positive pregnant women were invited to enter the study, and they received short-term drug treatments intended to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their babies. Women in the trial were then asked to choose one of the two feeding options and offered support and counseling for either one. This support included free formula, transport, and healthcare provision. Babies were followed up to their second birthday, and data were collected on death rates and any serious illnesses. A total of 643 women were enrolled into the study, and safety data were collected for 557 babies, of whom 295 were in the formula group and 262 were in the short-term breast-feeding group. The researchers corrected for HIV infection in the babies and found no evidence that the risk of other negative health outcomes and death rates was any different between the formula-fed babies and short-term breast-fed babies. Looking specifically at individual diseases, the researchers found that the risks for diarrhea and chest infections were slightly higher among formula-fed babies, but this did not translate into a greater risk of death or worse overall health. They also compared the death rates in this study with some historical data from a previous research project done in the same area on children born to HIV-positive mothers who had practiced long-term breast-feeding. The mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV had been much higher in that earlier trial, but looking only at the HIV-negative children, the researchers found no difference in risk for death or serious disease between the formula-fed or short-term breast-fed babies from the Ditrame Plus trial and the long-term breast-fed babies from the earlier trial.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that if HIV-positive mothers are well supported, either of the two feeding options currently recommended (formula-only feed, or short-term breast-feeding) are likely to be equivalent in terms of the baby's chances for survival and health. However, women in this study were offered a great deal of support and the findings may not necessarily apply to real-life situations in other settings in Africa, or outside the context of a research project. In addition to routine care after birth, access to better drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission in developing countries remains an important goal.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Resources from Avert (an AIDS charity) on HIV and infant feeding.
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
Guidelines from the World Health Organization on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
AIDSMap pages on breast-feeding and HIV
HIV Care and PMTCT in Resource-Limited Setting contains monthly bulletins and a database devoted to HIV/AIDS infections and prevention of the mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The Ghent group is a network of researchers and policymakers in the area of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
PMCID: PMC1769413  PMID: 17227132
6.  Patterns and determinants of breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices of Emirati Mothers in the United Arab Emirates 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:171.
Breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding for the infant. The present study aimed at investigating the different infant feeding practices and the influencing factors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A convenient sample of 593 Emirati mothers who had infants up to 2 years of age was interviewed. The interviews included a detailed questionnaire and conducted in the Maternal and Child Health Centers (MCH) and Primary Health Centers (PHC) in three cities.
Almost all the mothers in the study had initiated breastfeeding (98%). The mean duration of breastfeeding was 8.6 months. The initiation and duration of breastfeeding rates were influenced by mother’s age (P<0.034)and education(P<0.01), parity(OR=2.13; P<0.001), rooming in(OR=21.70; P<0.001), nipple problem(P<0.010) and use of contraception(P<0.034). As for the feeding patterns, the results of the multiple logistic analyses revealed that rooming in (OR=4.48; P<0.001), feeding on demand (OR=2.29; P<0.005) and feeding more frequently at night (P<0.001) emerged as significant factors associated with exclusive or predominantly breastfeeding practices. Among the 593 infants in the study, 24.1% had complementary feeding, 25% of the infants were exclusively breastfed, and 49.4% were predominantly breastfed since birth. About 30% of the infants were given nonmilk fluids such as: Anis seed drink (Yansun), grippe water and tea before 3 months of age. The majority of the infants (83.5%) in the three areas received solid food before the age of 6 months. A variety of reasons were reported as perceived by mothers for terminating breastfeeding. The most common reasons were: new pregnancy (32.5%), insufficient milk supply (24.4%) and infant weaned itself (24.4%).
In conclusion, infant and young child feeding practices in this study were suboptimal. There is a need for a national community-based breastfeeding intervention programme and for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding as part of a primary public health strategy to decrease health risks and problems in the UAE.
PMCID: PMC3598336  PMID: 23442221
Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Complementary feeding; Supplementation; United Arab Emirates
7.  Hurricane Katrina-related maternal stress, maternal mental health, and early infant temperament 
Maternal and child health journal  2009;14(4):511-518.
To investigate temperament in infants whose mothers were exposed to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and to determine if high hurricane exposure is associated with difficult infant temperament. A prospective cohort study of women giving birth in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA (n=288) in 2006–2007 was conducted. Questionnaires and interviews assessed the mother’s experiences during the hurricane, living conditions, and psychological symptoms, two months and 12 months postpartum. Infant temperament characteristics were reported by the mother using the activity, adaptability, approach, intensity, and mood scales of the Early Infant and Toddler Temperament Questionnaires, and “difficult temperament” was defined as scoring in the top quartile for three or more of the scales. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between hurricane experience, mental health, and infant temperament. Serious experiences of the hurricane did not strongly increase the risk of difficult infant temperament (association with 3 or more serious experiences of the hurricane: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–3.58 at 2 months; 0.58, 0.15–2.28 at 12 months). Maternal mental health was associated with report of difficult infant temperament, with women more likely to report having a difficult infant temperament at one year if they had screened positive for PTSD (aOR 1.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61–5.41), depression, (aOR 3.16, 95% CI 1.22–8.20) or hostility (aOR 2.17, 95% CI 0.81–5.82) at 2 months. Large associations between maternal stress due to a natural disaster and infant temperament were not seen, but maternal mental health was associated with reporting difficult temperament. Further research is needed to determine the effects of maternal exposure to disasters on child temperament, but in order to help babies born in the aftermath of disaster, the focus may need to be on the mother’s mental health.
PMCID: PMC3472436  PMID: 19554438
infant temperament; natural disaster; postpartum depression; post-traumatic stress disorder
8.  Association of Breastfeeding With Maternal Control of Infant Feeding at Age 1 Year 
Pediatrics  2004;114(5):e577-e583.
Previous studies have found that breastfeeding may protect infants against future overweight. One proposed mechanism is that breastfeeding, compared with bottle-feeding, may promote maternal feeding styles that are less controlling and more responsive to infant cues of hunger and satiety, thereby allowing infants greater self-regulation of energy intake. The objective of this study was to examine whether preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration are associated with less maternal restrictive behavior and less pressure to eat.
We studied 1160 mother–infant pairs in Project Viva, an ongoing prospective cohort study of pregnant mothers and their children. The main outcome measures were mothers’ reports of restricting their children’s food intake and of pressuring their children to eat more food, as measured by a modified Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) at 1 year postpartum. Restriction was defined by strongly agreeing or agreeing with the following question from the modified CFQ: “I have to be careful not to feed my child too much.” We derived a continuous pressure to eat score from 5 questions of the modified CFQ. We used multiple logistic regression to examine the association between preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life, breastfeeding duration, and mothers’ restriction of children’s access to food. We used multiple linear regression, both before and after adjusting for several groups of confounders, to predict the effects of breastfeeding on the mothers’ scores for pressuring their children to eat.
The mean (SD) age of the women was 32.4 (4.8) years; 24% of the women were nonwhite, and 32% were primigravidas. At 6 months postpartum, 24% of the mothers were exclusively breastfeeding, 25% were mixed feeding, 41% had weaned, and 10% had fed their infants formula only. The mean (SD) duration of breastfeeding was 6.3 (4.5) months. Thirteen percent of the mothers strongly agreed or agreed with the restriction question. The mean (SD) score on the pressure to eat scale was 5.3 (3.7), and the range was 0 to 20. After adjusting for mothers’ preexisting concerns about their children’s future eating and weight status, as well as sociodemographic, economic, and anthropometric predictors of breastfeeding duration, we found that the longer the mothers breastfed, the less likely they were to restrict their children’s food intake at age 1 year. The adjusted odds ratio was 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.84–0.95) for each 1-month increment in breastfeeding duration. In addition, we found that compared with mothers who were exclusively formula feeding, mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months of age had much lower odds of restricting their children’s food intake at 1 year (odds ratio: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.10–0.72). Preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration (β = −0.01 points on the 0–20 scale for each additional 1 month of breastfeeding [95% CI: −0.07 to 0.05]) were not related to mothers’ pressuring their children to eat more.
Mothers who fed their infants breast milk in early infancy and who breastfed for longer periods reported less restrictive behavior regarding child feeding at 1 year. Additional longitudinal studies should examine the extent to which any protective effect of breastfeeding on overweight is explained by decreased maternal feeding restriction.
PMCID: PMC1989686  PMID: 15492358
9.  Using community volunteers to promote exclusive breastfeeding in Sokoto State, Nigeria 
Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) refers to the practice of feeding breast milk only, (including expressed breast milk) to infants; and excluding water, other liquids, breast milk substitutes, and solid foods. Inadequately breastfed infants are likely to be undernourished and have childhood infections. EBF knowledge and infant feeding practices have not been studied sufficiently in Sokoto State, Nigeria. We describe the results of a randomized community trial to promote Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) in two local government areas Kware and Bodinga selected as intervention and control groups respectively.
During advocacy meetings with community leaders, a Committee was formed. Members of the Committee were consulted for informed consent and selection of ten female volunteers who would educate mothers about breastfeeding during home visits. Participants comprised mothers of infants who were breastfeeding at the time of the study. A total of 179 mothers were recruited through systematic random sampling from each community. Volunteers conducted in-person interviews using a structured questionnaire and counseled mothers in the intervention group only.
At baseline, intervention and control groups differed significantly regarding maternal occupation (P=0.07), and age of the index child (P=0.07). 42% of infants in the intervention group were up to 6 months old and about 30% of them were exclusively breastfed. Intention to EBF was significantly associated with maternal age (P=0.01), education (P=0.00) and women who were exclusively breastfeeding (P=0.00). After counseling, all infants up to 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed. The proportion of mothers with intention to EBF increased significantly with maternal age (P=0.00), occupation (P=0.00) and women who were exclusively breastfeeding (P=0.01). Post-intervention surveys showed that source of information and late initiation of breastfeeding was not significantly associated with intention to EBF. Mothers who reported practicing EBF for 6 months, were older (P=0.00) multi-parous (P=0.05) and more educated (P=0.00) compared to those who did not practice EBF. Among them, significantly increased proportion of women agreed that EBF should be continued during the night (P=0.03), infant should be fed on demand (P=0.05), sick child could be given medication (P=0.02), EBF offered protection against childhood diarrhea (P=0.01), and helped mothers with birth spacing (P=0.00).
This study shows that there is a need for reaching women with reliable information about infant nutrition in Sokoto State. The results show decreased EBF practice among working mothers, young women, mothers with poor education and fewer than five children. Counseling is a useful strategy for promoting the duration of EBF for six months and for developing support systems for nursing mothers. Working mothers may need additional resources in this setting to enable them to practice EBF.
PMCID: PMC3282933  PMID: 22187590
Exclusive Breast Feeding; community interventions; health promotion; Nigeria
10.  HIV: prevention of mother-to-child transmission  
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0909.
Over 2 million children are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, of whom over 80% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Without antiretroviral treatment, the risk of HIV transmission from infected mothers to their children is 15% to 30% during gestation or labour, with an additional transmission risk of 10% to 20% associated with prolonged breastfeeding. HIV-1 infection accounts for most infections; HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child. Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads, advanced disease, or both, in the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases, and with increased exposure to maternal blood. Mixed feeding practices (breast milk plus other liquids or solids) and prolonged breastfeeding are also associated with increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of measures to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
We found 53 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antiretroviral drugs, different methods of infant feeding, elective caesarean section, immunotherapy, micronutrient supplements, vaginal microbicides, and vitamin supplements.
Key Points
Without active intervention, the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 is high, especially in populations where prolonged breastfeeding is the norm. Without antiviral treatment, the risk of transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children is approximately 15% to 30% during pregnancy and labour, with an additional transmission risk of 10% to 20% associated with prolonged breastfeeding.HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child.Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads, advanced HIV disease, or both.Without antiretroviral treatment (ART), 15% to 35% of vertically infected infants die within the first year of life.The long-term treatment of children with ART is complicated by multiple concerns regarding the complications associated with life-long treatment, including adverse effects of antiretroviral drugs, difficulties of adherence across the developmental trajectory of childhood and adolescence, and the development of resistance.From a paediatric perspective, successful prevention of MTCT and HIV-free survival for infants remain the most important focus.
Antiretroviral drugs given to the mother during pregnancy or labour, to the baby immediately after birth, or to the mother and baby reduce the risk of intrauterine and intrapartum MTCT of HIV-1 and when given to the infant after birth and to the mother or infant during breastfeeding reduce the risk of postpartum MTCT of HIV-1.
Reductions in MTCT are possible using multidrug ART regimens. Longer courses of ART are more effective, but the greatest benefit is derived from treatment during late pregnancy, labour, and early infancy.Suppression of the maternal viral load to undetectable levels (below 50 copies/mL) using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) offers the greatest risk reduction, and is currently the standard of care offered in most resource-rich countries, where MTCT rates have been reduced to 1% to 2%. Alternative short-course regimens have been tested in resource-limited settings where HAART is not yet widely available. There is evidence that short courses of antiretroviral drugs have confirmed efficacy for reducing MTCT. Identifying optimal short-course regimens (drug combination, timing, and cost effectiveness) for various settings remains a focus for ongoing research.The development of viral resistance in mothers and infants after single-dose nevirapine and other short-course regimens that include single-dose nevirapine is of concern. An additional short-course of antiretrovirals with a different regimen during labour and early postpartum, and the use of HAART, may decrease the risk of viral resistance in mothers, and in infants who become HIV-infected despite prophylaxis.World Health Organization guidelines recommend starting prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs from as early as 14 weeks' gestation, or as soon as possible if women present late in pregnancy, in labour, or at delivery.
Elective caesarean section at 38 weeks may reduce vertical transmission rates (apart from breast-milk transmission). The potential benefits of this intervention need to be balanced against the increased risk of surgery-associated complications, high cost, and feasibility issues. These reservations are particularly relevant in resource-limited settings.
Immunotherapy with HIV hyperimmune globulin seems no more effective than immunoglobulin without HIV antibody at reducing HIV-1 MTCT risk.
Vaginal microbicides have not been demonstrated to reduce HIV-1 MTCT risk.
There is no evidence that supplementation with vitamin A reduces the risk of HIV-1 MTCT, and there is concern that postnatal vitamin A supplementation for mother and infant may be associated with increased risk of mortality.
We don't know whether micronutrients are effective in prevention of MTCT of HIV as we found no RCT evidence on this outcome.
Avoidance of breastfeeding prevents postpartum transmission of HIV, but formula feeding requires access to clean water and health education. The risk of breastfeeding-related HIV transmission needs to be balanced against the multiple benefits that breastfeeding offers. In resource-poor countries, breastfeeding is strongly associated with reduced infant morbidity and improved child survival. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months may reduce the risk of HIV transmission compared with mixed feeding, while retaining most of its associated benefits.In a population where prolonged breastfeeding is usual, early, abrupt weaning may not reduce MTCT or HIV-free survival at 2 years compared with prolonged breastfeeding, and may be associated with a higher rate of infant mortality for those infants diagnosed as HIV-infected at <4 months of age. Antiretrovirals given to the mother or the infant during breastfeeding can reduce the risk of HIV transmission in the postpartum period. World Health Organization guidelines recommend that HIV-positive mothers should exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months, after which time appropriate complementary foods can be introduced. Breastfeeding should be continued for the first 12 months of the infant's life, and stopped only when an adequate diet without breast milk can be provided. Heat- or microbicidal-treated expressed breast milk may offer value in particular settings.
PMCID: PMC3217724  PMID: 21477392
Infant mental health journal  2001;22(3):374-392.
This study examined the association between paternal alcoholism and 12-month infant temperament and 18-month behavior problems. The role of associated parental psychopathology and maternal drinking in exacerbating risk for maladaptive behavioral outcomes was also examined. Participants were 213 families (102 control families, 94 paternal alcoholic families, and 17 families with alcoholic fathers and heavy drinking mothers) who were assessed when their child was 12 months old and reassessed again when their child was 18 months old. Infants of alcoholics displayed marginally more stubborn/persistent temperaments at 12 months of age, but significantly more internalizing problems at 18 months. Analyses suggested that internalizing problems in the infants of alcoholics could be attributed to the paternal depression concomitant with paternal alcoholism. In addition, an interaction was observed, indicating that paternal alcohol problems predicted 18-month externalizing problems among families with low maternal depression, but not among families with high maternal depression. Children of depressed mothers exhibited uniformly higher externalizing scores, but were not further impacted by paternal alcohol problems. However, children of nondepressed mothers were adversely affected by fathers’ drinking as reflected by higher externalizing behavior scores. The results highlight the necessity of addressing the overall contextual risks that occur with paternal alcoholism in studies of the development of children in alcoholic families.
PMCID: PMC2680301  PMID: 19436770
12.  Vegetable acceptance by infants 
Early human development  2006;82(7):463-468.
Individual differences in acceptance patterns are evident as early as the child’s first experiences with a particular food. To test hypothesis that the flavor of formula fed to infants modifies their acceptance of some foods, we conducted a within- and between-subjects design study in which two groups of 6- to 11-month-old infants were tested on two separate days. One group was currently feeding a milk-based formula whereas the other was feeding a protein hydrolysate formula, a particularly unpleasant tasting formula to adults that contains similar flavor notes (e.g., sulfur volatiles) with Brasscia vegetables such as broccoli. In counterbalanced order, acceptance of pureed broccoli/cauliflower was determined during one test session and pureed carrots on the other. Although there were no group differences in the amount of carrots consumed, hydrolysate infants consumed significantly less broccoli/cauliflower relative to carrots when compared to those who were currently fed milk based formulas (F(1, 72 df)=4.43; p=0.04). The mothers of hydrolysate infants were significantly more likely to report that their infants did not enjoy feeding the broccoli/cauliflower (54.2%) when compared to mothers of infants being fed milk-based formulas (28.0%; Chi-Square (1 df)=4.79; p=0.03). Such findings are consistent with prior research that demonstrated a sensory specific satiety following repeated exposure to a particular flavor in milk. We hypothesize that when infants are experiencing a flavor in milk or formula, in the short term, the preference that develops is specific to the context it is experienced in (e.g., milk). Over the longer term, the preference may generalize to other contexts such as solid foods. Hydrolysate infants were also significantly more likely to be judged by their mothers as being more active (F(1, 69 df)=3.95; p=0.05) and hesitant (F(1, 69 df)=6.55; p=0.01) when compared to those infants who were feeding milk-based formulas, a finding that further supports the hypothesis that mother—child dynamics surrounding early feeding impacts upon mothers’ perception of their children’s temperament.
PMCID: PMC2366040  PMID: 16469455
Infant nutrition; Weaning; Flavor; Development; Taste; Formula; Hydrolysate
13.  Infants Perceived as “Fussy” Are More Likely to Receive Complementary Foods Before 4 Months 
Pediatrics  2011;127(2):229-237.
Our purpose was to assess early infant-feeding patterns in a cohort of low-income black mothers and to examine associations between maternal perception of infant temperament and complementary feeding (CF) before 4 months.
We used cross-sectional data from the 3-month visit (n = 217) of the Infant Care, Feeding and Risk of Obesity Study to assess relationships between early feeding of solids or juice and 6 dimensions of perceived infant temperament. Descriptive statistics were used to assess infant-feeding patterns, and logistic regression models were fit for each diet-temperament relationship found significant in the bivariate analyses.
Seventy-seven percent of the infants were fed solid foods at 3 months, 25% were fed juice, and 6% were exclusively breastfed. In multivariable analyses, 2 dimensions of perceived infant temperament were associated with early feeding of solid foods (distress-to-limitations odds ratio [OR]: 1.97 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–3.44]; activity-level OR: 1.75 [95% CI: 1.07–2.85]), whereas 1 dimension, low-intensity pleasure, was associated with early feeding of juice (OR: 0.51 [95% CI: 0.34–0.78]). Maternal characteristics significantly associated with early CF included breastfeeding, obesity, and depressive symptoms.
Low-income black mothers may represent a priority population for interventions aimed at improving adherence to optimal infant feeding recommendations. That maternal perceptions of several domains of perceived infant temperament are related to early CF suggests that this is an important factor to include in future observational research and in the design of interventions.
PMCID: PMC3025423  PMID: 21220398
infancy; temperament; complementary feeding; breastfeeding; overweight
14.  Perceptions of caregivers about health and nutritional problems and feeding practices of infants: a qualitative study on exclusive breast-feeding in Kwale, Kenya 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:525.
Despite the significant positive effect of exclusive breast-feeding on child health, only 32% of children under 6 months old were exclusively breast-fed in Kenya in 2008. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions and feeding practices of caregivers of children under 6 months old with special attention to the caregivers’ indigenous knowledge, perceptions about the health and nutritional problems of their infants, and care-seeking behaviors that affect feeding practices.
The study was exploratory and used an inductive approach. In all, 32 key informants, including mothers, mothers-in-law, and traditional healers, were interviewed in-depth. The number of participants in free-listing of perceived health problems of babies, in ranking of the perceived severity of these health problems, and in free-listing of food and drink given to children under 6 months old were 29, 28, and 32, respectively. Additionally, 28 babies under 6 months old were observed at home with regard to feeding practices. Data obtained using these methods were triangulated to formulate an ethnomedical explanatory model for mothers who do not practice exclusive breast-feeding.
The informants stated that various types of food, drink, and medicine were given to infants under 6 months old. Direct observation also confirmed that 2- to 3-month-old babies were given porridge, water, juice, herbal medicine, and over-the-counter medicine. Mothers’ perceptions of insufficient breast milk production and a lack of proper knowledge about the value of breast milk were identified in key informant interviews, free-listing, and ranking as important factors associating with the use of food and drink other than breast milk; in addition, perceived ill health of babies appears to be associated with suboptimal practice of exclusive breast-feeding. Caregivers used various folk and popular medicines from the drugstore, their own backyard or garden, and traditional healers so that the mother or child would not be exposed to perceived risks during the vulnerable period after birth.
Mothers should be advised during their antenatal and postnatal care about exclusive breast-feeding. This should be done not as a single vertical message, but in relation to their concerns about the health and nutritional problems of their babies.
PMCID: PMC3681582  PMID: 23721248
Exclusive breast-feeding; Local etiology; Insufficient breast milk; Qualitative study
15.  Infant feeding among HIV-positive mothers and the general population mothers: comparison of two cross-sectional surveys in Eastern Uganda 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:124.
Infant feeding recommendations for HIV-positive mothers differ from recommendations to mothers of unknown HIV-status. The aim of this study was to compare feeding practices, including breastfeeding, between infants and young children of HIV-positive mothers and infants of mothers in the general population of Uganda.
This study compares two cross-sectional surveys conducted in the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2005 in Eastern Uganda using analogous questionnaires. The first survey consisted of 727 randomly selected general-population mother-infant pairs with unknown HIV status. The second included 235 HIV-positive mothers affiliated to The Aids Support Organisation, TASO. In this article we compare early feeding practices, breastfeeding duration, feeding patterns with dietary information and socio-economic differences in the two groups of mothers.
Pre-lacteal feeding was given to 150 (64%) infants of the HIV-positive mothers and 414 (57%) infants of general-population mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding of infants under the age of 6 months was more common in the general population than among the HIV-positive mothers (186 [45%] vs. 9 [24%] respectively according to 24-hour recall). Mixed feeding was the most common practice in both groups of mothers. Solid foods were introduced to more than half of the infants under 6 months old among the HIV-positive mothers and a quarter of the infants in the general population. Among the HIV-positive mothers with infants below 12 months of age, 24 of 90 (27%) had stopped breastfeeding, in contrast to 9 of 727 (1%) in the general population. The HIV-positive mothers were poorer and had less education than the general-population mothers.
In many respects, HIV-positive mothers fed their infants less favourably than mothers in the general population, with potentially detrimental effects on both the child's nutrition and the risk of HIV transmission. Mixed feeding and pre-lacteal feeding were widespread. Breastfeeding duration was shorter among HIV-positive mothers. Higher educational level and being socio-economically better off were associated with more beneficial infant feeding practices.
PMCID: PMC2687447  PMID: 19422709
16.  Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Subsequent Child Feeding Adequacy 
Ghana Medical Journal  2013;47(1):24-29.
Mothers of young children in Ghana believe that breastfeeding exclusively for six months impairs subsequent introduction of other foods. The current study was designed to determine whether feeding adequacy among 9–23 months old children is influenced by duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
We surveyed 300 mother-infant pairs attending child-welfare-clinic at the University of Ghana Hospital, Accra. Data collected included sociodemographic characteristics, morbidity, breastfeeding history, and maternal practices and perception on child feeding and temperament. Current child feeding was assessed using 24-hour dietary recall. Adequately fed children were defined as 9–23 month old children meeting three basic feeding adequacy thresholds: 1) was fed complementary foods, at least three times in the last 24 hours, 2) was fed from at least three food groups, and 3) received breast milk in the last 24 hours. Multiple logistic regressions were used to identify independent predictors of child feeding adequacy.
About 66% of children were exclusively breastfed for six months and only 56% were adequately fed in the in the 24 hours preceding the survey. Child feeding adequacy was unrelated to duration of exclusive breastfeeding (OR=0.73; p=0.30). After controlling for child sex, age, and maternal education, the independent determinants of feeding adequacy included recent child morbidity (OR=0.41; p=0.03), number of caregivers who feed child (OR=1.33; p=0.03), and maternal perception that child does not like food (OR=0.25; p<0.01).
Child temperament was unrelated to feeding adequacy.
Child feeding adequacy is not affected by duration of exclusive breastfeeding. The study provides evidence to address misperceptions about exclusively breastfeeding for six months.
PMCID: PMC3645185  PMID: 23661852
Exclusive breastfeeding; child; dietary diversity; feeding adequacy; duration
17.  Pregnancy and Infant Outcomes among HIV-Infected Women Taking Long-Term ART with and without Tenofovir in the DART Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(5):e1001217.
Diana Gibb and colleagues investigate the effect of in utero tenofovir exposure by analyzing the pregnancy and infant outcomes of HIV-infected women enrolled in the DART trial.
Few data have described long-term outcomes for infants born to HIV-infected African women taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in pregnancy. This is particularly true for World Health Organization (WHO)–recommended tenofovir-containing first-line regimens, which are increasingly used and known to cause renal and bone toxicities; concerns have been raised about potential toxicity in babies due to in utero tenofovir exposure.
Methods and Findings
Pregnancy outcome and maternal/infant ART were collected in Ugandan/Zimbabwean HIV-infected women initiating ART during The Development of AntiRetroviral Therapy in Africa (DART) trial, which compared routine laboratory monitoring (CD4; toxicity) versus clinically driven monitoring. Women were followed 15 January 2003 to 28 September 2009. Infant feeding, clinical status, and biochemistry/haematology results were collected in a separate infant study. Effect of in utero ART exposure on infant growth was analysed using random effects models.
382 pregnancies occurred in 302/1,867 (16%) women (4.4/100 woman-years [95% CI 4.0–4.9]). 226/390 (58%) outcomes were live-births, 27 (7%) stillbirths (≥22 wk), and 137 (35%) terminations/miscarriages (<22 wk). Of 226 live-births, seven (3%) infants died <2 wk from perinatal causes and there were seven (3%) congenital abnormalities, with no effect of in utero tenofovir exposure (p>0.4). Of 219 surviving infants, 182 (83%) enrolled in the follow-up study; median (interquartile range [IQR]) age at last visit was 25 (12–38) months. From mothers' ART, 62/9/111 infants had no/20%–89%/≥90% in utero tenofovir exposure; most were also zidovudine/lamivudine exposed. All 172 infants tested were HIV-negative (ten untested). Only 73/182(40%) infants were breast-fed for median 94 (IQR 75–212) days. Overall, 14 infants died at median (IQR) age 9 (3–23) months, giving 5% 12-month mortality; six of 14 were HIV-uninfected; eight untested infants died of respiratory infection (three), sepsis (two), burns (one), measles (one), unknown (one). During follow-up, no bone fractures were reported to have occurred; 12/368 creatinines and seven out of 305 phosphates were grade one (16) or two (three) in 14 children with no effect of in utero tenofovir (p>0.1). There was no evidence that in utero tenofovir affected growth after 2 years (p = 0.38). Attained height- and weight for age were similar to general (HIV-uninfected) Ugandan populations. Study limitations included relatively small size and lack of randomisation to maternal ART regimens.
Overall 1-year 5% infant mortality was similar to the 2%–4% post-neonatal mortality observed in this region. No increase in congenital, renal, or growth abnormalities was observed with in utero tenofovir exposure. Although some infants died untested, absence of recorded HIV infection with combination ART in pregnancy is encouraging. Detailed safety of tenofovir for pre-exposure prophylaxis will need confirmation from longer term follow-up of larger numbers of exposed children.
Trial registration ISRCTN13968779
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Currently, about 34 million people (mostly in low- and middle-income countries) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic, more men than women were infected with HIV but now about half of all people living with HIV/AIDS are women, most of who became infected through unprotected sex with an infected partner. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 12 million women are HIV-positive. Worldwide, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of child-bearing age. Moreover, most of the 400,000 children who become infected with HIV every year acquire the virus from their mother during pregnancy or birth, or through breastfeeding, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART)—treatment with cocktails of powerful antiretroviral drugs—reduces HIV-related illness and death among women, and ART given to HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy and delivery and to their newborn babies greatly reduces MTCT.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because of ongoing international efforts to increase ART coverage, more HIV-positive women in Africa have access to ART now than ever before. However, little is known about pregnancy outcomes among HIV-infected African women taking ART throughout pregnancy for their own health or about the long-term outcomes of their offspring. In particular, few studies have examined the effect of taking tenofovir (an antiretroviral drug that is now recommended as part of first-line ART) throughout pregnancy. Tenofovir readily crosses from mother to child during pregnancy and, in animal experiments, high doses of tenofovir given during pregnancy caused bone demineralization (which weakens bones), kidney problems, and impaired growth among offspring. In this study, the researchers analyze data collected on pregnancy and infant outcomes among Ugandan and Zimbabwean HIV-positive women who took ART throughout pregnancy in the Development of AntiRetroviral Therapy in Africa (DART) trial. This trial was designed to test whether ART could be safely and effectively delivered in Africa without access to the expensive laboratory tests that are routinely used to monitor ART toxicity and efficacy in developed countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The pregnancy outcomes of 302 women who became pregnant during the DART trial and information on birth defects among their babies were collected as part of the DART protocol; information on the survival, growth, and development of the infants born to these women was collected in a separate infant study. Most of the women who became pregnant were taking tenofovir-containing ART before and throughout their pregnancies. 58% of the pregnancies resulted in a live birth, 7% resulted in a stillbirth (birth of a dead baby at any time from 22 weeks gestation to the end of pregnancy), and 35% resulted in a termination or miscarriage (before 22 weeks gestation). Of the 226 live births, seven infants died within 2 weeks and seven had birth defects. Similar proportions of the infants exposed and not exposed to tenofovir during pregnancy died soon after birth or had birth defects. Of the 182 surviving infants who were enrolled in the infant study, 14 subsequently died at an average age of 9 months, giving a 1-year mortality of 5%. None of the surviving children who were tested (172 infants) were HIV infected. No bone fractures or major kidney problems occurred during follow-up and prebirth exposure to tenofovir in utero had no effect on growth or weight gain at 2 years (in contrast to a previous US study).
What Do These Findings Mean?
By showing that prebirth tenofovir exposure does not affect pregnancy outcomes or increase birth defects, growth abnormalities, or kidney problems, these findings support the use of tenofovir-containing ART during pregnancy among HIV-positive African women, and suggest that it could also be used to prevent women of child-bearing age acquiring HIV-infection heterosexually. Notably, the observed 5% 1-year infant mortality is similar to the 2%–4% infant mortality normally seen in the region. The absence of HIV infection among the infants born to the DART participants is also encouraging. However, this is a small study (only 111 infants were exposed to tenofovir throughout pregnancy) and women were not randomly assigned to receive tenofovir-containing ART. Consequently, more studies are needed to confirm that tenofovir exposure during pregnancy does not affect pregnancy outcomes or have any long-term effects on infants. Such studies are essential because the use of tenofovir as a treatment for women who are HIV-positive is likely to increase and tenofovir may also be used in the future to prevent HIV acquisition in HIV-uninfected women.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV/AIDS treatment and care, women, HIV and AIDS, children, HIV and AIDS, and on HIV/AIDS and pregnancy (some information in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available
More information about the DART trial is available
Additional patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3352861  PMID: 22615543
18.  Measuring Coverage in MNCH: Population HIV-Free Survival among Children under Two Years of Age in Four African Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001424.
Population-based evaluations of programs for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) are scarce. We measured PMTCT service coverage, regimen use, and HIV-free survival among children ≤24 mo of age in Cameroon, Côte D'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia.
Methods and Findings
We randomly sampled households in 26 communities and offered participation if a child had been born to a woman living there during the prior 24 mo. We tested consenting mothers with rapid HIV antibody tests and tested the children of seropositive mothers with HIV DNA PCR or rapid antibody tests. Our primary outcome was 24-mo HIV-free survival, estimated with survival analysis. In an individual-level analysis, we evaluated the effectiveness of various PMTCT regimens. In a community-level analysis, we evaluated the relationship between HIV-free survival and community PMTCT coverage (the proportion of HIV-exposed infants in each community that received any PMTCT intervention during gestation or breastfeeding). We also compared our community coverage results to those of a contemporaneous study conducted in the facilities serving each sampled community. Of 7,985 surveyed children under 2 y of age, 1,014 (12.7%) were HIV-exposed. Of these, 110 (10.9%) were HIV-infected, 851 (83.9%) were HIV-uninfected, and 53 (5.2%) were dead. HIV-free survival at 24 mo of age among all HIV-exposed children was 79.7% (95% CI: 76.4, 82.6) overall, with the following country-level estimates: Cameroon (72.6%; 95% CI: 62.3, 80.5), South Africa (77.7%; 95% CI: 72.5, 82.1), Zambia (83.1%; 95% CI: 78.4, 86.8), and Côte D'Ivoire (84.4%; 95% CI: 70.0, 92.2). In adjusted analyses, the risk of death or HIV infection was non-significantly lower in children whose mothers received a more complex regimen of either two or three antiretroviral drugs compared to those receiving no prophylaxis (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.34, 1.06). Risk of death was not different for children whose mothers received a more complex regimen compared to those given single-dose nevirapine (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.45, 1.72). Community PMTCT coverage was highest in Cameroon, where 75 of 114 HIV-exposed infants met criteria for coverage (66%; 95% CI: 56, 74), followed by Zambia (219 of 444, 49%; 95% CI: 45, 54), then South Africa (152 of 365, 42%; 95% CI: 37, 47), and then Côte D'Ivoire (3 of 53, 5.7%; 95% CI: 1.2, 16). In a cluster-level analysis, community PMTCT coverage was highly correlated with facility PMTCT coverage (Pearson's r = 0.85), and moderately correlated with 24-mo HIV-free survival (Pearson's r = 0.29). In 14 of 16 instances where both the facility and community samples were large enough for comparison, the facility-based coverage measure exceeded that observed in the community.
HIV-free survival can be estimated with community surveys and should be incorporated into ongoing country monitoring. Facility-based coverage measures correlate with those derived from community sampling, but may overestimate population coverage. The more complex regimens recommended by the World Health Organization seem to have measurable public health benefit at the population level, but power was limited and additional field validation is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
For a pregnant woman who is HIV-positive, the discrepancy across the world in outlook for mother and child is stark. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy is now less than 1% in many high-income settings, but occurs much more often in low-income countries. Three interventions have a major impact on transmission of HIV to the baby: antiretroviral drugs, mode of delivery, and type of infant feeding. The latter two are complex, as the interventions commonly used in high-income countries (cesarean section if the maternal viral load is high; exclusive formula feeding) have their own risks in low-income settings. Minimizing the risks of transmitting HIV through effective drug regimes therefore becomes particularly important. Monitoring progress on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child HIV transmission is essential, but not always easy to achieve.
Why Was This Study Done?
A research group led by Stringer and colleagues recently reported a study from four countries in Africa: Cameroon, Côte D'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia. The study showed that even in the health facility setting (e.g., hospitals and clinics), only half of infants whose mothers were HIV-positive received the minimum recommended drug treatment (one dose of nevirapine during labor) to prevent HIV transmission. Across the population of these countries, it is possible that fewer receive antiretroviral drugs, as the study did not include women who did not access health facilities. Therefore, the next stage of the study by this research group, reported here, involved going into the communities around these health facilities to find out how many infants under two years old had been exposed to HIV, whether they had received drugs to prevent transmission, and what proportion were alive and not infected with HIV at two years old.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers tested all consenting women who had delivered a baby in the last two years in the surrounding communities. If the mother was found to be HIV-positive, then the infant was also tested for HIV. The researchers then calculated how many of the infants would be alive at two years and free of HIV infection.
Most mothers (78%) agreed to testing for themselves and their infants. There were 7,985 children under two years of age in this study, of whom 13% had been born to an HIV-positive mother. Less than half (46%) of the HIV-positive mothers had received any drugs to prevent HIV transmission. Of the children with HIV-positive mothers, 11% were HIV-infected, 84% were not infected with HIV, and 5% had died. Overall, the researchers estimated that around 80% of these children would be alive at two years without HIV infection. This proportion differed non-significantly between the four countries (ranging from 73% to 84%). The researchers found higher rates of infant survival than they had expected and knew that they might have missed some infant deaths (e.g., if households with infant deaths were less likely to take part in the study).
The researchers found that their estimates of the proportion of HIV-positive mothers who received drugs to prevent transmission were fairly similar between their previous study, looking at health facilities, and this study of the surrounding communities. However, in 14 out of 16 comparisons, the estimate from the community was lower than that from the facility.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that it would be possible to estimate how many infants are surviving free of HIV infection using a study based in the community, and that these estimates may be more accurate than those for studies based in health facilities. There are still a large proportion of HIV-positive mothers who are not receiving drugs to prevent transmission to the baby. The authors suggest that using two or three drugs to prevent HIV may help to reduce transmission.
There are already community surveys conducted in many low-income countries, but they have not included routine infant testing for HIV. It is now essential that organizations providing drugs, money, and infrastructure in this field consider more accurate means of monitoring incidence of HIV transmission from mother to infant, particularly at the community level.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The United Nations Children's Fund has more information on the status of national PMTCT responses in the most affected countries
PMCID: PMC3646218  PMID: 23667341
19.  An Evaluation of Mother-Centered Anticipatory Guidance to Reduce Obesogenic Infant Feeding Behaviors 
Pediatrics  2012;130(3):e507-e517.
To evaluate the effect of 2 anticipatory guidance styles (maternal focused [MOMS] and infant focused [Ounce of Prevention]) directed at mothers of infants aged newborn to 6 months on their infant feeding behaviors at 1 year compared with routine advice as outlined in Bright Futures (BF).
This is a cluster randomized trial. A total of 292 mother/infant dyads were enrolled at their first well-child visit to 3 urban pediatric clinics in Columbus, Ohio. Intervention-specific brief advice and 1-page handouts were given at each well visit. In addition to infant weights and lengths, surveys about eating habits and infant feeding practices were completed at baseline and 12 months.
Baseline data revealed a group with high rates of maternal overweight (62%) and obesogenic habits. At 12 months, the maternal-focused group gave their infants less juice (8.97 oz vs 14.37 oz, P < .05), and more daily servings of fruit (1.40 vs 0.94, P < .05) and vegetables (1.41 vs 1.03, P < .05) compared with BF mothers. Ounce of Prevention mothers also gave less juice (9.3 oz, P < .05) and more fruit servings (1.26 P < .05) than BF.
Brief specific interventions added to well-child care may affect obesogenic infant feeding behaviors of mothers and deserves further study as an inexpensive approach to preventing childhood obesity.
PMCID: PMC3428754  PMID: 22891225
well-child visit; obesity prevention; anticipatory guidance; infant feeding
20.  Prenatal and Postnatal Flavor Learning by Human Infants 
Pediatrics  2001;107(6):E88.
Background. Flavors from the mother’s diet during pregnancy are transmitted to amniotic fluid and swallowed by the fetus. Consequently, the types of food eaten by women during pregnancy and, hence, the flavor principles of their culture may be experienced by the infants before their first exposure to solid foods. Some of these same flavors will later be experienced by infants in breast milk, a liquid that, like amniotic fluid, comprises flavors that directly reflect the foods, spices, and beverages eaten by the mother. The present study tested the hypothesis that experience with a flavor in amniotic fluid or breast milk modifies the infants’ acceptance and enjoyment of similarly flavored foods at weaning.
Methods. Pregnant women who planned on breast-feeding their infants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups. The women consumed either 300 mL of carrot juice or water for 4 days per week for 3 consecutive weeks during the last trimester of pregnancy and then again during the first 2 months of lactation. The mothers in 1 group drank carrot juice during pregnancy and water during lactation; mothers in a second group drank water during pregnancy and carrot juice during lactation, whereas those in the control group drank water during both pregnancy and lactation. Approximately 4 weeks after the mothers began complementing their infants’ diet with cereal and before the infants had ever been fed foods or juices containing the flavor of carrots, the infants were videotaped as they fed, in counterbalanced order, cereal prepared with water during 1 test session and cereal prepared with carrot juice during another. Immediately after each session, the mothers rated their infants’ enjoyment of the food on a 9-point scale.
Results. The results demonstrated that the infants who had exposure to the flavor of carrots in either amniotic fluid or breast milk behaved differently in response to that flavor in a food base than did nonexposed control infants. Specifically, previously exposed infants exhibited fewer negative facial expressions while feeding the carrot-flavored cereal compared with the plain cereal, whereas control infants whose mothers drank water during pregnancy and lactation exhibited no such difference. Moreover, those infants who were exposed to carrots prenatally were perceived by their mothers as enjoying the carrot-flavored cereal more compared with the plain cereal. Although these same tendencies were observed for the amount of cereal consumed and the length of the feeds, these findings were not statistically significant.
Conclusions. Prenatal and early postnatal exposure to a flavor enhanced the infants’ enjoyment of that flavor in solid foods during weaning. These very early flavor experiences may provide the foundation for cultural and ethnic differences in cuisine. Pediatrics 2001;107(6). URL:; infant nutrition, prenatal, lactation, weaning, flavor, development, preferences.
PMCID: PMC1351272  PMID: 11389286
21.  Maternal Characteristics and Perception of Temperament Associated With Infant TV Exposure 
Pediatrics  2013;131(2):e390-e397.
This study examines the development of television (TV) behaviors across the first 18 months of life and identifies maternal and infant predictors of infant TV exposure.
We used longitudinal TV exposure, maternal sociodemographic, and infant temperament data from 217 African-American mother-infant pairs participating in the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Study. Longitudinal logistic models and ordered regression models with clustering for repeated measures across subjects adjusted for infant gender and visit were used to assess maternal and infant predictors of TV exposure and to test whether infants with both maternal and infant risk factors had higher odds of more detrimental TV exposure.
Infants as young as 3 months old were exposed to an average of 2.6 hours of TV and/or videos daily, and nearly 40% of infants were exposed to >3 hours of TV daily by 12 months of age. Maternal TV viewing and maternal obesity and infant activity, fussiness, and crying were associated with greater infant TV exposure, whereas maternal education and infant activity were associated with having the TV on during most meals. Infants perceived as being more active or fussier had higher TV exposure, particularly if their mothers also had risk factors for higher TV exposure.
Understanding the characteristics that shape TV exposure and its biological and behavioral sequelae is critical for early intervention. Maternal perception of infant temperament dimensions is related to TV exposure, suggesting that infant temperament measures should be included in interventions aimed at limiting early TV.
PMCID: PMC3557404  PMID: 23296440
television; infancy; temperament; maternal obesity; overweight
22.  Feeding and smoking habits as cumulative risk factors for early childhood caries in toddlers, after adjustment for several behavioral determinants: a retrospective study 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:45.
Several maternal health determinants during the first period of life of the child, as feeding practice, smoking habit and socio-economic level, are involved in early childhood health problems, as caries development. The potential associations among early childhood caries, feeding practices, maternal and environmental smoking exposure, Socio-Economic Status (SES) and several behavioral determinants were investigated.
Italian toddlers (n = 2395) aged 24–30 months were recruited and information on feeding practices, sweet dietary habit, maternal smoking habit, SES, and fluoride supplementation in the first year of life was obtained throughout a questionnaire administered to mothers. Caries lesions in toddlers were identified in visual/tactile examinations and classified using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS). Associations between toddlers’ caries data and mothers’ questionnaire data were assessed using chi-squared test. Ordinal logistic regression was used to analyze associations among caries severity level (ICDAS score), behavioral factors and SES (using mean housing price per square meter as a proxy).
Caries prevalence and severity levels were significantly lower in toddlers who were exclusively breastfed and those who received mixed feeding with a moderate–high breast milk component, compared with toddlers who received low mixed feeding and those exclusively fed with formula (p < 0.01). No moderate and high caries severity levels were observed in an exclusively breastfed children. High caries severity levels were significantly associated with sweet beverages (p < 0.04) and SES (p < 0.01). Toddlers whose mothers smoked five or more cigarettes/day during pregnancy showed a higher caries severity level (p < 0.01) respect to those whose mothers did not smoke. Environmental exposure to smoke during the first year of life was also significantly associated with caries severity (odds ratio =7.14, 95% confidence interval = 6.07-7.28). No association was observed between caries severity level and fluoride supplementation. More than 50% of toddlers belonging to families with a low SES, showed moderate or high severity caries levels (p < 0.01).
Higher caries severity levels were observed in toddlers fed with infant formula and exposed to smoke during pregnancy living in area with a low mean housing price per square meter.
PMCID: PMC3930287  PMID: 24528500
Early childhood caries; Toddler; Feeding practice; Smoking exposure; Socio-Economic Status
23.  Infant temperament contributes to early infant growth: A prospective cohort of African American infants 
Prospective studies linking infant temperament, or behavioral style, to infant body composition are lacking. In this longitudinal study (3 to 18 months), we seek to examine the associations between two dimensions of infant temperament (distress to limitations and activity level) and two anthropometric indicators (weight-for-length z-scores (WLZ) and skin fold (SF) measures) in a population at high risk of overweight.
Data are from the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Project, a longitudinal study of North Carolina low income African American mother-infant dyads (n = 206). Two temperament dimensions were assessed using the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised. A high distress to limitations score denotes an infant whose mother perceives that s/he often cries or fusses, and a high activity level score one who moves his/her limbs and squirms frequently. Cross-sectional analyses were conducted using ordinary least squares regression. Fixed effects longitudinal models were used to estimate anthropometric outcomes as a function of time varying infant temperament.
In longitudinal models, increased activity levels were associated with later decreased fatness and WLZ. In contrast, high levels of distress to limitations were associated with later increased fatness at all time points and later increased WLZ at 12 months.
Infant temperament dimensions contribute to our understanding of the role of behavior in the development of the risk of overweight in the formative months of life. Identification of modifiable risk factors early in life may help target strategies for establishing healthy lifestyles prior to the onset of overweight.
PMCID: PMC2729723  PMID: 19656377
24.  Early Environmental Correlates of Maternal Emotion Talk 
Parenting, science and practice  2008;8(2):117-152.
The primary goal of this study was to examine contextual, child, and maternal factors that are associated with mothers’ early emotion talk in an ethnically diverse, low-income sample.
Emotion talk (positive and negative labels) was coded for 1111 mothers while engaged with their 7-month-olds in viewing an emotion-faces picture book. Infant attention during the interaction was also coded. Mothers’ parenting style (positive engagement and negative intrusiveness) was coded during a dyadic free-play interaction. Demographic information was obtained, as well as maternal ratings of child temperament and mother’s knowledge of infant development.
Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that social context and maternal qualities are significant predictors of mothers’ early positive and negative emotion talk. In particular, mothers who were African American, had higher income, and who showed more positive engagement when interacting with their infants demonstrated increased rates of positive and negative emotion talk with their infants. For negative emotion talk, social context variables moderated other predictors. Specifically, infant attention was positively associated with negative emotion talk only for African American mothers, and knowledge of infant development was positively associated with negative emotion talk only for non-African American mothers. The positive association between maternal positive engagement and negative emotion talk was greater for lower-income families than for higher-income families.
Mothers’ emotion language with infants is not sensitive to child factors but is associated with social contextual factors and characteristics of the mothers themselves.
PMCID: PMC2783602  PMID: 19946464
25.  A qualitative study of the aspirations and challenges of low-income mothers in feeding their preschool-aged children 
The prevalence of obesity among preschool-aged children has increased, especially among those in low-income households. Two promising behavioral targets for preventing obesity include limiting children’s portion sizes and their intake of foods high in solid fats and/or added sugars, but these approaches have not been studied in low-income preschoolers in the home setting. The purpose of this study was to understand the contextual factors that might influence how low-income mothers felt about addressing these behavioral targets and mothers’ aspirations in feeding their children.
We recruited 32 English-speaking women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who were eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and who were the biologic mothers of children 36 to 66 months of age. Each mother participated in 1 of 7 focus groups and completed a brief socio-demographic questionnaire. Focus group questions centered on eating occasions, foods and drinks consumed in the home, and portion sizes. Each focus group lasted 90 minutes and was digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Three authors independently identified key themes and supporting quotations. Themes were condensed and modified through discussion among all authors.
Thirty-one mothers identified themselves as black, 15 had a high school education or less, and 22 lived with another adult. Six themes emerged, with three about aspirations mothers held in feeding their children and three about challenges to achieving these aspirations. Mothers’ aspirations were to: 1) prevent hyperactivity and tooth decay by limiting children’s sugar intake, 2) use feeding to teach their children life lessons about limit setting and structure, and 3) be responsive to children during mealtimes to guide decisions about portions. Especially around setting limits with sweets and snacks, mothers faced the challenges of: 1) being nagged by children’s food requests, 2) being undermined by other adults in the family, and 3) having bad memories from childhood that made it hard to deny children’s food requests.
Although the primary aspirations of low-income mothers in feeding their preschool-aged children were not focused on children’s weight, these aspirations were compatible with obesity prevention strategies to limit children’s portion sizes and their intake of solid fats and/or added sugars.
PMCID: PMC3541152  PMID: 23157723
Feeding; Child; Preschool; Obesity; Parenting; Eating behavior; Qualitative evaluation

Results 1-25 (1043763)