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To examine the associations between maternal education level and diet in 10-year-old children.
Three-day diet diaries (child completed with parental help) were collected. Height and weight were measured in research clinics. Maternal education level was derived from a questionnaire completed during pregnancy and classified into low, medium or high. One-way ANOVA was undertaken to compare maternal education groups for nutrient intakes and the Kruskal–Wallis test used for food consumption.
Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), Bristol, UK.
Children (n 7474) who provided dietary data at age 10 years.
A large proportion (60 %) of the sample was classified as plausible reporters, with under-reporting accounting for 36 %. No clear differences were found for intakes of energy or macronutrients between maternal education groups for plausible reporters. However, there were marked differences in micronutrient intakes especially for vitamin C, retinol equivalents and folate, highlighting lower diet quality with lower maternal education level. Intakes of fruit and vegetables showed a positive gradient with increasing maternal education (57 % v. 79 % consumed fresh fruit in low and high educational groups, respectively). A trend towards higher intake in the lower educated group was shown for less healthy foods (meat pies P < 0·001; sausages, burgers and kebabs P < 0·001).
The quality of children's diet at 10 years was related to maternal education level. Lower maternal education was associated with less healthy food choices that could be detrimental to health. Further research is needed to establish if these associations can be explained by other socio-economic factors.
To investigate associations between dietary intakes throughout childhood and age at menarche, a possible indicator of future risk of disease, in a contemporary cohort of British girls.
Diet was assessed by FFQ at 3 and 7 years of age, and by a 3 d unweighed food diary at 10 years. Age at menarche was categorised as before or after 12 years 8 months, a point close to the median age in this cohort.
Bristol, South-West England.
Girls (n 3298) participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
Higher energy intakes at 10 years were positively associated with the early occurrence of menarche, but this association was removed on adjusting for body size. Total and animal protein intakes at 3 and 7 years were positively associated with age at menarche ≤12 years 8 months (adjusted OR for a 1 sd increase in protein at 7 years: 1·14 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·26)). Higher PUFA intakes at 3 and 7 years were also positively associated with early occurrence of menarche. Meat intake at 3 and 7 years was strongly positively associated with reaching menarche by 12 years 8 months (OR for menarche in the highest v. lowest category of meat consumption at 7 years: 1·75 (95 % CI 1·25, 2·44)).
These data suggest that higher intakes of protein and meat in early to mid-childhood may lead to earlier menarche. This may have implications for the lifetime risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis.
To examine the sociodemographic, parental and child factors that predict fruit and vegetable consumption in 7-year-old children.
Diet was assessed using three 1d unweighed food diaries. The child’s daily fruit and vegetable consumption was calculated by summing the weight of each type of fruit, fruit juice and vegetable consumed. The various others factors measured were assessed by a questionnaire at different time points.
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
A total of 7285 children aged 7 years residing in the south-west of England during 1999–2000.
Median daily fruit and vegetable consumption (201 g) was below the recommendations for this age group (320 g). Girls ate more fruit and vegetables per unit energy (30·3 g/MJ) than boys (26·7 g/MJ; P =< 0·001). The predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption were mostly similar. Fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with maternal consumption, maternal education status and parental rules about serving fruit/vegetables every day, food expenditure per person and whether the child was choosy about food. Vegetable consumption was also associated with the other characteristics of the child, such as whether the child enjoyed food and whether the child tried a variety of foods.
Children are not eating recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables, particularly boys. Consumption of fruit and vegetables appears to be influenced by parental rules about daily consumption and parental consumption and by the child’s choosiness. Parent’s actions could influence this. These findings may prove useful for those planning healthy eating campaigns for children.
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