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Maternal nutrition, infants and children

Tracking of dietary intakes in early childhood: the Melbourne InFANT Program

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

The objectives of the present study were to describe food and nutrient intakes in children aged 9 and 18 months, and to assess tracking of intakes between these two ages.

Subjects/Methods:

Participants were 177 children of first-time mothers from the control arm of the Melbourne Infant Feeding Activity and Nutrition Trial (InFANT) Program. Dietary intake was collected at 9 and 18 months using three 24 h diet recalls. Tracking was assessed for food and nutrient intakes using logistic regression analysis and estimating partial correlation coefficients, respectively.

Results:

Although overall nutrient intakes estimated in this study did not indicate a particular risk of nutrient deficiency, our findings suggest that consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods occurred as early as 9 months of age, with some of these foods tracking highly over the weaning period. Intakes of healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, eggs, fish and water were also relatively stable over this transition from infancy to toddlerhood, along with moderate tracking for riboflavin, iodine, fibre, calcium and iron. Tracking was low but close to ρ=0.3 for zinc, magnesium and potassium intakes.

Conclusions:

The tracking of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods has important implications for public health, given the development of early eating behaviours is likely to be modifiable. At this stage of life, dietary intakes are largely influenced by the foods parents provide, parental feeding practices and modelling. This study supports the importance of promoting healthy dietary trajectories from infancy.

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Acknowledgements

SL was supported by a Deakin University Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship. SAM is supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. ACS was supported by a Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarship. KJC and DC were supported by fellowships from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation. This study was funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant (number 425801).

Author contributions

SL conducted the statistical analysis, contributed to interpretation of results, drafted and edited the manuscript, and had primary responsibility for final content. SAM led and managed the dietary data collection, guided the statistical analysis, contributed to interpretation of results, drafted and edited the manuscript. ACS contributed to the dietary data collection, drafted and edited the manuscript. DC guided the statistical analysis, contributed to interpretation of results, drafted and edited the manuscript. KJC was the principal investigator on The Melbourne InFANT Program. She designed and led that study, managed the dietary data collection, guided the statistical analysis, contributed to interpretation of results, drafted and edited the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to S Lioret.

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Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on European Journal of Clinical Nutrition website

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Appendix

Appendix

Table a1 Food classification

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Lioret, S., McNaughton, S., Spence, A. et al. Tracking of dietary intakes in early childhood: the Melbourne InFANT Program. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 275–281 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2012.218

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2012.218

Keywords

  • food intake
  • nutrient intake
  • infant
  • toddler
  • tracking

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