(HealthDay News) – The delivery of home-based maternal counseling focusing on breastfeeding and complementary feeding to low-income mothers during their child’s first year of life significantly improves the lipid profile in girls at 7–8 years of age.

Maria Laura da Costa Louzada, from the Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre in Brazil, and colleagues randomly assigned mothers of full-term infants (birth weight ≥2,500g) to a control group (300 mothers) or an intervention group (200 mothers) that received counseling on breastfeeding and complementary feeding during 10 home visits during the first year of the child’s life. Dietary and anthropometric data were measured at 12–16 months, 3–4 years, and 7–8 years of age; lipid profiles were measured at 3–4 years and 7–8 years of age.

The researchers found that 397 of the 500 child participants completed the 12–16 month-old assessment, 354 completed the 3–4 year-old assessment, and 315 completed the 7–8 year-old assessment. Consumption of energy-dense foods was significantly lower in the intervention group at 12–16 months and 3–4 years of age. Serum lipid levels did not differ between the groups at 3–4 years, but at 7–8 years, high-density lipoprotein levels were 0.11mmol/L higher and triglyceride concentrations were 0.13mmol/L lower among girls in the intervention group. The groups did not differ in overweight/obesity rates.

“This trial revealed that the promotion of healthy eating in the first year after birth through the delivery of dietary counseling during home visits to mothers was effective in improving some early feeding practices and lipid profiles at 7–8 years of age,” the authors write.

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