Associations between paternal anxiety and infant weight gain

Nobutoshi Nawa, Angela C.B. Trude, Maureen M. Black, Lorenzo Richiardi, Pamela J. Surkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between parental anxiety (fatheronly, mother-only, or both) and infant weight change. We performed a secondary data analysis among 551 children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a birth cohort with weight measurements collected prospectively at 4, 8, and 12 months of age. Paternal and maternal anxiety symptoms were based on the eight-item anxiety subscale of the Crown-Crisp Experiential Index. Scores in the top 15% at 8 weeks postpartum were classified as high anxiety. Generalized Estimating Equations were employed to estimate the joint association between parental anxiety and change in child weight-for-age z-score. Children who had fathers, but not mothers, with anxiety showed a 0.15 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.29) greater increase in weight-for-age z-score than children with neither parent anxious. This result suggests that paternal anxiety, not maternal anxiety, was associated with increases in child weight gain in the first year of life. Public health practitioners and clinicians should consider the use of robust measures of both maternal and paternal anxiety in the postpartum period, in addition to the suggested screening for postpartum depression. Given the limitations of the study, this study should be considered preliminary and hypothesis generating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number977
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Pediatric obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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