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A low second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is a purported biomarker of increased intrauterine androgenic exposure, presumably linked to postnatal behavior. We aimed to examine the associations between 2D:4D and adolescence behavior problems expected from high (externalizing and attention problems) or low (internalizing problems) prenatal androgen exposure. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 1042 Colombian schoolchildren aged 11–18 y. We examined whether caliper-assessed 2D:4D was associated with behavior problems per the Youth Self-Report questionnaire. Mean problem standardized score point differences were estimated between hand- and sex-specific quintiles of 2D:4D with use of multivariable linear regression. Lower right-hand 2D:4D was associated with decreased externalizing and internalizing behavior problem scores. Corresponding lowest-to-median quintile adjusted mean differences (95% CI) were −4.6 (−7.5, −1.7) and −3.5 (−6.4, −0.6) points in boys; and −3.4 (−5.9, −0.9) and −3.5 (−6.2, −0.8) points in girls. Lower right-hand 2D:4D was also related to less attention and thought problems in boys, and to less social problems among girls. Associations were nonlinear, apparent only below 2D:4D medians, and stronger with the right than the left hand. In conclusion, right-hand 2D:4D is related to behavior problems in adolescence in directions that are not fully consistent with an androgenic exposure origin.
We examined the associations of middle childhood and adolescence nighttime sleep duration with adolescence internalizing and externalizing behavior problems per the Youth Self-Report (YSR) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) questionnaires, in a cohort of 889 Colombian schoolchildren. We estimated adjusted differences with 95% confidence intervals (CI) in mean behavior problem t-scores in standardized units between recommended sleep duration categories and as a continuous exposure using multiple linear regression and restricted cubic spline models, respectively. Compared with sleep duration within recommendations, middle childhood sleep above recommendations was related to 4.6 (95% CI: 1.6, 7.6; p = .004) and 5.4 (95% CI: 1.2, 9.7; p = .01) adjusted units higher YSR and CBCL externalizing problem scores, respectively. In continuous exposure analyses, this association seemed restricted to children aged ≥11 years. Longer sleep, both in categories and as a continuous exposure, was also associated with increased CBCL internalizing problems. Results did not differ by sex or weekend/weekday sleep. Sleeping under recommendations in middle childhood was not significantly related to behavior problems; nevertheless, shorter sleep in adolescence, in both categorical and continuous scales, was significantly related to behavior problems. In conclusion, behavior problems in adolescence are associated with longer sleep in middle childhood and shorter sleep in adolescence.
We examined the associations of middle childhood infectious morbidity and inflammatory biomarkers with adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. We recruited 1018 Colombian schoolchildren aged 5–12 years into a cohort. We quantified white blood cell (WBC) counts and C-reactive protein at enrollment and prospectively recorded incidence of gastrointestinal, respiratory, and fever-associated morbidity during the first follow-up year. After a median 6 years, we assessed adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior problems using child behavior checklist (CBCL) and youth self-report (YSR) questionnaires. Behavior problem scores were compared over biomarker and morbidity categories using mean differences and 95% confidence intervals (CI) from multivariable linear regression. Compared with children without symptoms, CBCL internalizing problem scores were an adjusted 2.5 (95% CI: 0.1, 4.9; p = .04) and 3.1 (95% CI: 1.1, 5.2; p = .003) units higher among children with moderate diarrhea with vomiting and high cough with fever rates, respectively. High cough with fever and high fever rates were associated with increased CBCL somatic complaints and anxious/depressed scores, respectively. WBC >10,000/mm3 was associated with both internalizing problem and YSR withdrawn/depressed scores. There were no associations with externalizing behavior problems. Whether or not decreasing the burden of common infections results in improved neurobehavioral outcomes warrants further investigation.
To examine the associations between vitamins of the methionine-homocysteine (Hcys) cycle (B6, B12 and folate) and Hcys with metabolic syndrome (MetS) among Mesoamerican children and their adult parents.
We conducted a cross-sectional study. Exposures were plasma vitamins B6 and B12 concentrations, erythrocyte folate and plasma Hcys. In children, the outcome was a continuous metabolic risk score calculated through sex- and age standardisation of waist circumference, the homoeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance, mean arterial pressure (MAP), serum HDL-cholesterol and serum TAG. In parents, the outcome was the prevalence of MetS according to the Adult Treatment Panel III Criteria. We estimated mean differences in the metabolic risk score and prevalence ratios of MetS between quartiles of the exposures using multivariable-adjusted linear and Poisson regression models, respectively.
Capital cities of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Chiapas State in Mexico.
In total, 237 school-aged children and 524 parents.
Among children, vitamin B12 was inversely associated with the metabolic risk score (quartiles 4–1 adjusted difference = –0·13; 95 % CI: –0·21, –0·04; Ptrend = 0·008) through MAP, HDL-cholesterol and TAG. In contrast, folate was positively associated with the metabolic risk score (quartiles 4–1 adjusted difference = 0·11; 95 % CI: 0·01, 0·20; Ptrend = 0·02). In adults, vitamin B6 was inversely associated with MetS prevalence, whereas vitamin B12 and folate were positively related to this outcome.
Vitamins of the methionine-Hcys cycle are associated with MetS in different directions. The associations differ between children and adults.
PUFA might modulate inflammatory responses involved in the development of severe dengue. We aimed to examine whether serum PUFA concentrations in patients diagnosed with dengue fever (DF) were related to the risk of progression to dengue haemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). A secondary aim was to assess correlations between fatty acids (FA) and inflammatory biomarkers in patients with DF. We conducted a prospective case–control study nested within a cohort of patients who were diagnosed with DF and followed during the acute episode. We compared the distribution of individual FA (% of total FA) at onset of fever between 109 cases who progressed to DHF/DSS and 235 DF non-progressing controls using unconditional logistic regression. We estimated correlations between baseline FA and cytokine concentrations and compared FA concentrations between the acute episode and >1 year post-convalescence in a subgroup. DHA was positively related to progression to DHF/DSS (multivariable adjusted OR (AOR) for DHA in quintile 5 v. 1=5·34, 95 % CI 2·03, 14·1; Ptrend=0·007). Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) was inversely associated with progression (AOR for quintile 5 v. 1=0·30, 95 % CI 0·13, 0·69; Ptrend=0·007). Pentadecanoic acid concentrations were inversely related to DHF/DSS. Correlations of PUFA with cytokines at baseline were low. PUFA were lower during the acute episode than in a disease-free period. In conclusion, serum DHA in patients with DF predicts higher odds of progression to DHF/DSS whereas DGLA and pentadecanoic acid predict lower odds.
Childhood intake of animal foods is associated with age at first menstrual period (menarche). It is unknown whether the micronutrients present in these foods could explain this association. Our objective was to investigate the associations of micronutrient status biomarkers in middle childhood with age at menarche. We quantified circulating Hb, ferritin, mean corpuscular volume, Zn, vitamin B12, erythrocyte folate and retinol in 1464 pre-menarcheal girls aged 5–12 years in Bogotá, Colombia, and followed them for a median 5·7 years for the occurrence and date of menarche. We estimated median age at menarche and hazard ratios (HR) with 95 % CI by levels of each biomarker with use of Kaplan–Meier survival probabilities and Cox regression, respectively. Median age at menarche was 12·4 years. Middle childhood Hb was inversely related to age at menarche whereas plasma ferritin was positively associated with this outcome in a linear manner. HR of menarche for every 1 sd of Hb (11 g/l) and ferritin (23·2 µg/l) were 1·11 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·18; P=0·001) and 0·94 (95 % CI 0·88, 0·99; P=0·02), respectively, after adjustment for baseline age, C-reactive protein concentration, maternal age at menarche and parity and socioeconomic status. The association with ferritin was stronger in girls aged 9–10 years at baseline. Additional adjustment for baseline height- and BMI-for-age did not change the results. We conclude that higher Fe status in middle childhood is related to later age at menarche whereas Hb concentrations are inversely associated with age at onset of menses.
To determine the associations of sociodemographic characteristics, diet and outdoor activity as an indicator of sun exposure with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in children and their parents from Mesoamerica. We also quantified family aggregation of serum 25(OH)D.
Cross-sectional study. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were quantified using immunoassay. We compared the distribution of 25(OH)D concentrations in adults and children by levels of each correlate with the use of linear regression. Family aggregation was estimated using Pearson and intraclass correlation coefficients.
Capital cities of Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize, and Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Mexico.
Children (n 223) aged 7–12 years and 492 parents.
Mean (sd) 25(OH)D concentrations in adults and children were 81·3 (21·1) and 79·5 (18·1) nmol/l, respectively. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (VDD; 25(OH)D <50 nmol/l) was 3·9 % among adults and 3·6 % among children. In adults, adjusted mean 25(OH)D concentrations were highest in Nicaragua (P<0·0001). Serum 25(OH)D was positively related to time spent gardening (P=0·03). Among children, 25(OH)D concentrations were positively associated with male sex (P=0·005), dairy intake (P=0·03) and mother’s serum 25(OH)D concentrations (P<0·0001); and inversely associated with mother’s BMI (P=0·02) and number of home assets (P=0·04). Family membership explained 31 % of the variability in 25(OH)D concentrations; aggregation was highest between mothers and children.
VDD prevalence was low in this study. Sociodemographic characteristics, diet and outdoor activity predict serum 25(OH)D. Family aggregation of serum 25(OH)D is high between mothers and children.
To determine if processed and ultra-processed foods consumed by children in Colombia are associated with lower-quality nutrition profiles than less processed foods.
We obtained information on sociodemographic and anthropometric variables and dietary information through dietary records and 24 h recalls from a convenience sample of the Bogotá School Children Cohort. Foods were classified into three categories: (i) unprocessed and minimally processed foods, (ii) processed culinary ingredients and (iii) processed and ultra-processed foods. We also examined the combination of unprocessed foods and processed culinary ingredients.
Representative sample of children from low- to middle-income families in Bogotá, Colombia.
Children aged 5–12 years in 2011 Bogotá School Children Cohort.
We found that processed and ultra-processed foods are of lower dietary quality in general. Nutrients that were lower in processed and ultra-processed foods following adjustment for total energy intake included: n-3 PUFA, vitamins A, B12, C and E, Ca and Zn. Nutrients that were higher in energy-adjusted processed and ultra-processed foods compared with unprocessed foods included: Na, sugar and trans-fatty acids, although we also found that some healthy nutrients, including folate and Fe, were higher in processed and ultra-processed foods compared with unprocessed and minimally processed foods.
Processed and ultra-processed foods generally have unhealthy nutrition profiles. Our findings suggest the categorization of foods based on processing characteristics is promising for understanding the influence of food processing on children’s dietary quality. More studies accounting for the type and degree of food processing are needed.
To ascertain the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of cardiometabolic risk factors in adults and school-aged children from Mesoamerica.
Cross-sectional study with convenience sampling. In adults, metabolic syndrome was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) criteria. In children, we calculated a continuous sex- and age-standardized metabolic risk score using variables corresponding to adult ATP III criteria. Metabolic syndrome prevalence in adults and risk score distribution in children were compared across levels of sociodemographic characteristics with use of Poisson and linear regression, respectively.
Capital cities of Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, the Mexican State of Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez city) and Belize.
Families (n 267), comprising one child aged 7–12 years and their biological parents.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 37·9 % among women and 35·3 % among men. The most common component was low HDL cholesterol, 83·3 % in women and 78·9 % in men. Prevalence was positively associated with age. In women, metabolic syndrome was inversely related to education level whereas in men it was positively associated with household food security and height, after adjustment. The metabolic risk score in children was inversely related to parental height, and positively associated with height-for-age and with having parents with the metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent in Mesoamerica. The burden of metabolic risk factors disproportionately affects women and children of lower socio-economic status and men of higher socio-economic status.
Parental body image dissatisfaction (BID) is associated with children’s weight in cross-sectional studies; however, it is unknown whether BID predicts development of adiposity. The objective of the present study was to investigate the associations between maternal dissatisfaction with her or her child’s body and children’s BMI trajectories.
Longitudinal study. Maternal dissatisfaction (BID) with her and her child’s body was calculated based on ratings of Stunkard scales obtained at recruitment, as current minus desired body image. Children’s height and weight were measured at baseline and annually for a median of 2·5 years. Mixed-effects models with restricted cubic splines were used to construct sex- and weight-specific BMI-for-age curves according to maternal BID levels.
Public primary schools in Bogotá, Colombia.
Children (n 1523) aged 5–12 years and their mothers.
After multivariable adjustment, heavy boys and thin girls whose mothers desired a thinner child gained an estimated 1·7 kg/m2 more BMI (P=0·04) and 2·4 kg/m2 less BMI (P=0·004), respectively, between the age 6 and 14 years, than children of mothers without BID. Normal-weight boys whose mothers desired a thinner child’s body gained an estimated 1·8 kg/m2 less BMI than normal-weight boys of mothers without BID (P=0·02). Maternal BID with herself was positively related to children’s BMI gain during follow-up.
Maternal BID is associated with child’s BMI trajectories in a sex- and weight-specific manner.
Supply of essential n-3 PUFA is limited worldwide. While fish-oil supplementation effectively improves n-3 PUFA status, it may not be a sustainable intervention. The use of α-linolenic acid (ALA)-rich cooking oils in the household may be a suitable alternative but its effect on PUFA status is unclear. We aimed to compare the effect of providing families with soyabean oil, an ALA-rich cooking oil, v. sunflower oil on whole-blood PUFA levels of children aged 11–18 years.
In a randomized, masked, parallel trial, we assigned families to receive a one-month supply of either soyabean or sunflower oil. Fatty acid concentrations were quantified in whole-blood samples obtained from the children before and at the end of the intervention. Changes in fatty acids were compared between treatment arms with use of linear regression for repeated measures.
Sixty low- and middle-income families.
Soyabean oil significantly increased ALA concentrations by 0·05 percentage points of total serum fatty acids whereas sunflower oil decreased them by 0·12 percentage points (soyabean v. sunflower oil effect=0·17; 95 % CI 0·11, 0·24). Concentrations of both n-3 and n-6 very-long-chain PUFA, including docosapentaenoic acid, DHA, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid, increased significantly in both intervention arms. Levels of oleic acid and palmitic acid decreased, irrespective of oil assignment. Total energy or energy intake from saturated fat did not change.
Replacing cooking oils at the household level is an effective intervention to improve essential PUFA status of children.
Long-chain n-3 fatty acid intake in Colombia is low because fish consumption is limited. Vegetable oils with high n-3 fatty acid content are recommended, but their concentrations of trans fats were high in previous studies. Thus, regular monitoring of the fatty acid composition of vegetable oils is required. Our objective was to quantify the fatty acid composition in commercially available oils in Bogota, Colombia and determine if composition changed from 2008 to 2013.
Cross-sectional study. We obtained samples of all commercially available oils reported in a survey of low- and middle-income families with a child participating in the Bogota School Children Cohort.
Sunflower oil had the highest trans-fatty acid content (2·18 %). Canola oil had the lowest proportion of trans-fatty acids (0·40 %) and the highest n-3 fatty acid content (9·37 %). In terms of percentage reduction from 2008 to 2013 in 18:1 and 18:2 trans-fatty acids, canola oil had 89 % and 65 % reduction, mixed oils had 44 % and 48 % reduction, and sunflower oil had 25 % and 51 % reduction, respectively. Soyabean oil became widely available in 2013.
The content of trans-fatty acids decreased in all oils from 2008 to 2013, suggesting a voluntary reduction by industry. We believe that regular monitoring of the fatty acid composition of oils is warranted.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with many adverse health outcomes and is highly prevalent worldwide. The present study assesses the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency and marginal deficiency in Colombian children and women and examines the sociodemographic correlates of serum vitamin B12 concentrations in these groups.
Children <18 years old (n 7243), pregnant women (n 1781), and non-pregnant women 18–49 years old (n 499).
The overall prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency (serum vitamin B12<148 pmol/l) and marginal deficiency (serum vitamin B12=148–221 pmol/l) was, respectively, 6·6 % (95 % CI 5·2 %, 8·3 %) and 22·5 % (95 % CI 21·1 %, 23·9 %). Pregnant women had the highest prevalence of deficiency (18·9 %; 95 % CI 16·6 %, 21·5 %) compared with non-pregnant adult women (18·5 %; 95 % CI 4·4 %, 53·1 %) and children (2·8 %; 95 % CI 2·3 % %, 3·3 %). In multivariable analyses among children, mean serum vitamin B12 was positively associated with female sex (12 pmol/l higher compared with males; P=0·004), secondary or higher education of the household head (12 pmol/l higher compared with primary or less; P=0·009) and food security (21 pmol/l higher compared with severe food insecurity; P=0·003). In multivariable analyses among pregnant women, mean serum vitamin B12 was positively associated with education of the household head and inversely associated with living in the National territories, Eastern or Pacific regions.
The prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency and marginal deficiency in Colombian women and children is substantial. The burden falls largely on adult women, those with lowest education and those living in the poorest, most rural regions of the country.
To identify a body fat percentage (%BF) threshold related to an adverse cardiometabolic profile and its surrogate BMI cut-off point.
Two public schools in poor urban areas on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
A convenience sample of ninety-three healthy, prepubertal, Ladino children (aged 7–12 years).
Spearman correlations of cardiometabolic parameters were higher with %BF than with BMI-for-age Z-score. BMI-for-age Z-score and %BF were highly correlated (r=0·84). The %BF threshold that maximized sensitivity and specificity for predicting an adverse cardiometabolic profile (elevated homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance index and/or total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio) according to receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was 36 %. The BMI-for-age Z-score cut-off point that maximized the prediction of BF ≥ 36 % by the same procedure was 1·5. The area under the curve (AUC) for %BF and for BMI data showed excellent accuracy to predict an adverse cardiometabolic profile (AUC 0·93 (sd 0·04)) and excess adiposity (AUC 0·95 (sd 0·02)).
Since BMI standards have limitations in screening for adiposity, specific cut-off points based on ethnic-/sex- and age-specific %BF thresholds are needed to better predict an adverse cardiometabolic profile.