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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.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition as nutrition transition progresses. The present study aimed to document the prevalence, coexistence and correlates of nutritional status (stunting, overweight/obesity and anaemia) in Samoan children aged 24–59 months.
A cross-sectional community-based survey. Height and weight were used to determine prevalence of stunting (height-for-age Z-score <−2) and overweight/obesity (BMI-for-age Z-score >+2) based on WHO growth standards. Anaemia was determined using an AimStrip Hemoglobin test system (Hb <110 g/l).
Ten villages on the Samoan island of Upolu.
Mother–child pairs (n 305) recruited using convenience sampling.
Moderate or severe stunting was apparent in 20·3 % of children, 16·1 % were overweight/obese and 34·1 % were anaemic. Among the overweight/obese children, 28·6 % were also stunted and 42·9 % anaemic, indicating dual burden of malnutrition. Stunting was significantly less likely among girls (OR=0·41; 95 % CI 0·21, 0·79, P<0·01) than boys. Overweight/obesity was associated with higher family socio-economic status and decreased sugar intake (OR per 10 g/d=0·89, 95 % CI 0·80, 0·99, P=0·032). The odds of anaemia decreased with age and anaemia was more likely in children with an anaemic mother (OR=2·20; 95 % CI 1·22, 3·98, P=0·007). No child, maternal or household characteristic was associated with more than one of the nutritional status outcomes, highlighting the need for condition-specific interventions in this age group.
The observed prevalences of stunting, overweight/obesity and anaemia suggest that it is critical to invest in nutrition and develop health programmes targeting early childhood growth and development in Samoa.
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