Are dietary patterns stable throughout early and mid-childhood? A birth cohort study

K Northstone, P Emmett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study assesses the stability of dietary patterns obtained using principal components analysis (PCA) through early to mid-childhood. Dietary data were collected from children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC). Frequency of consumption of a range of food items was recorded by mothers using self-completion postal questionnaires when their children were 3, 4, 7 and 9 years of age. Dietary patterns were identified using PCA and component scores were calculated at each time-point. In total 6177 children had data available at all four time-points. Three patterns were consistently seen across time: the ‘processed’, ‘traditional’ and ‘health conscious’ patterns. At 3 years an additional ‘snack’ pattern was obtained and at 9 years the ‘health conscious’ pattern was slightly modified (meat products were negatively associated). High correlations were evident for all three scores between each pair of time-points. The widest limits of agreement were seen for all pairings between the 3 and 9 years data, whilst the narrowest were seen between the 4 and 7 years data. A reasonable level of agreement was seen with the categorised component scores from each time-point of data (κ ranging from 0·28 to 0·47). Virtually identical dietary patterns were obtained at the ages of 4 and 7; however, periods of change were apparent between the ages of 3 and 4 and the ages of 7 and 9. It is important to make regular dietary assessments during childhood in order to assess accurately the effects of diet on future health outcomes.
Translated title of the contributionAre dietary patterns stable throughout early and mid-childhood? A birth cohort study
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069 - 1076
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume100
Issue number5
Early online date1 Apr 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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