Abstract

This study was performed to examine how childhood dietary patterns change over the short term and which changes in diet-related behaviors influence later changes in individual dietary patterns. Using food frequency questionnaire data obtained from children at 7 and 9 years of age from the Ewha Birth and Growth Cohort, we examined dietary patterns by principal component analysis. We calculated the individual changes in dietary pattern scores. Changes in dietary habits such as eating a variety of food over two years were defined as “increased”, “stable”, or “decreased”. The dietary patterns, termed “healthy intake”, “animal food intake”, and “snack intake”, were similar at 7 and 9 years of age. These patterns explained 32.3% and 39.1% of total variation at the ages of 7 and 9 years, respectively. The tracking coefficient of snack intake had the highest coefficient (γ = 0.53) and that of animal food intake had the lowest (γ = 0.21). Intra-individual stability in dietary habits ranged from 0.23 to 0.47, based on the sex-adjusted weighted kappa values. Of the various behavioral factors, eating breakfast every day was most common in the “stable” group (83.1%), whereas consuming milk or dairy products every day was the least common (49.0%). Moreover, changes in behavior that improved the consumption of milk or dairy products or encouraged the consumption of vegetables with every meal had favorable effects on changes in healthy dietary pattern scores over two years. However, those with worsened habits, such as less food variety and more than two portions of fried or stir-fried food every week, had unfavorable effects on changes in healthy dietary pattern scores. Our results suggest that diet-related behaviors can change, even over a short period, and these changes can affect changes in dietary pattern.

Highlights

  • To improve diet, understanding how dietary patterns develop is important in epidemiological studies related to chronic diseases and public health planning [1]

  • Using data from a Korean cohort study, we evaluated how childhood dietary patterns change in the short term, and which changes in diet-related behavior influence later changes in individual dietary patterns

  • There were three dietary patterns, namely, “healthy intake”, “animal food intake”, and “snack intake”, the contributions of which differed at each time point

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Summary

Introduction

To improve diet, understanding how dietary patterns develop is important in epidemiological studies related to chronic diseases and public health planning [1]. The critical period for the development of certain dietary patterns, during which time the development should be tracked, remains a major issue in nutritional epidemiology. Several studies have suggested that dietary patterns are determined in childhood [2,3,4]. Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC), indicated that the dietary pattern at 7 years old was a determinant of later dietary patterns based on the results of tracking coefficients from diverse. With regard to the critical period, children learn what, when, and how to eat through direct experience observing others [8]. It is important to identify critical intervention factors to suggest appropriate strategies for improving dietary behaviors.

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