Publication Date: 9/2019
Evidence-based consensus holds that the first year of life is critical in obesity programming and unfavorable infant growth patterns, namely, excessive weight gain in relation to length gain or increased weight-for-length Z score, is strongly associated with obesity in young children and adolescents. Given the current obesity rates in U.S. children, identifying modifiable risk factors underpinning excessive weight and adiposity gain early in life are urgently needed. Although extensive research has been done on infant formula consumption and risk of overweight, a significant knowledge gap exists in the effects of complementary feeding on growth and risk of overweight during late infancy, especially regarding protein-rich foods. This review will present current literature on the impact of complementary foods of animal origin on growth trajectory and the risk of overweight in infants and discuss the potential mechanisms linking protein-rich complementary foods to infant growth and future research recommendations.