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Dietary patterns are associated with child, maternal and household-level characteristics and overweight/obesity among young Samoan children

  • Courtney C Choy (a1), Dongqing Wang (a2), Ana Baylin (a2) (a3), Christina Soti-Ulberg (a4), Take Naseri (a4), Muagututia S Reupena (a5), Avery A Thompson (a6), Rachel L Duckham (a7) (a8) and Nicola L Hawley (a6)...



Among young Samoan children, diet may not be optimal: in 2015, 16·1 % of 24–59-month-olds were overweight/obese, 20·3 % stunted and 34·1 % anaemic. The present study aimed to identify dietary patterns among 24–59-month-old Samoan children and evaluate their association with: (i) child, maternal and household characteristics; and (ii) nutritional status indicators (stunting, overweight/obesity, anaemia).


A community-based, cross-sectional study. Principal component analysis on 117 FFQ items was used to identify empirical dietary patterns. Distributions of child, maternal and household characteristics were examined by factor score quintiles. The regression of nutritional status indicators v. these quintiles was performed using logistic regression models.


Ten villages on the Samoan island of Upolu.


A convenience sample of mother–child pairs (n 305).


Two dietary patterns, modern and neo-traditional, emerged. The modern pattern was loaded with ‘westernized’ foods (red meat, condiments and snacks). The neo-traditional pattern included vegetables, local starches, coconuts, fish and poultry. Following the modern diet was associated with urban residence, greater maternal educational attainment, higher socio-economic status, lower vitamin C intake and higher sugar intake. Following the neo-traditional diet was associated with rural residence, lower socio-economic status, higher vitamin C intake and lower sugar intake. While dietary patterns were not related to stunting or anaemia, following the neo-traditional pattern was positively associated with child overweight/obesity (adjusted OR=4·23, 95 % CI 1·26, 14·17, for the highest quintile, P-trend=0·06).


Further longitudinal monitoring and evaluation of early childhood growth and development are needed to understand the influences of early diet on child health in Samoa.

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Courtney C. Choy and Dongqing Wang are co-first authors.



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