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To evaluate the relative validity of an FFQ for assessing nutrient intakes in 12-month-old infants.
Design and setting
The FFQ was developed to assess the diets of infants born to women in the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS), a population-based survey of young women and their offspring. The energy and nutrient intakes obtained from an interviewer-administered FFQ were compared with those obtained from 4d weighed diaries (WD).
Subjects and methods
A sub-sample of fifty infants (aged 1 year) from the SWS had their diets assessed by both methods. The FFQ recorded the frequencies and amounts of foods and drinks consumed by the infants over the previous 28 d; milk consumption was recorded separately. The WD recorded the weights of all foods and drinks consumed by the infants on 4 d following the FFQ completion.
The Spearman rank correlation coefficients for intakes of energy, macronutrients and eighteen micronutrients, determined by the two methods, ranged from r = 0·25 to 0·66. Bland–Altman statistics showed that mean differences between methods were in the range +5 % to +60 % except for vitamin D (+106 %). Differences in micronutrient intake were partly explained by changes in patterns of milk consumption between the two assessments.
Although there were differences in absolute energy and nutrient intakes between methods, there was reasonable agreement in the ranking of intakes. The FFQ is a useful tool for assessing energy and nutrient intakes of healthy infants aged around 12 months.
The impact of variations in current infant feeding practice on bone mineral accrual is not known. We examined the associations between duration of breast-feeding and compliance with infant dietary guidelines and later bone size and density at age 4 years. At total of 599 (318 boys) mother–child pairs were recruited from the Southampton Women's Survey. Duration of breast-feeding was recorded and infant diet was assessed at 6 and 12 months using FFQ. At 6 and 12 months the most important dietary pattern, defined by principal component analysis, was characterised by high consumption of vegetables, fruits and home-prepared foods. As this was consistent with infant feeding recommendations, it was denoted the ‘infant guidelines’ pattern. At age 4 years, children underwent assessment of whole-body bone size and density using a Hologic Discovery dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry instrument. Correlation methods were used to explore the relationships between infant dietary variables and bone mineral. There was no association between duration of breast-feeding in the first year of life and 4-year bone size or density. ‘Infant guidelines’ pattern scores at 6 and 12 months were also unrelated to bone mass at age 4 years. We observed wide variations in current infant feeding practice, but these variations were not associated with differences in childhood bone mass at age 4 years.
To describe feeding patterns and mothers' perceptions of desirable feeding practices in low-birth-weight (LBW) infants after hospital discharge in England and to test for the association of inappropriate practices/perceptions with identifiable demographics.
Postal questionnaires from 198 mothers of LBW infants in London, Liverpool and Winchester were analysed regarding infant demographics, mothers' demographics, infant milks used, solid feeding practices and mothers' perceptions of infant feeding practices.
At birth, the median weight, independent of gestational age, was 1.80 kg (range 0.6–2.50 kg) and 37.1% of infants received breast milk exclusively; 83.7% were breast-fed at some stage, a practice favoured more by first-time mothers (90.2%) than multiparous mothers (73.4%) (P = 0.004) as well as by mothers of higher social groups (P> = 0.019). The median age of solid food introduction was 17 postnatal weeks (range 8–36 weeks); the timing correlated strongly with infant birth weight (P < 0.001). A high-fibre diet and a low-fat diet were incorrectly considered important for their infants by 67.1% and 51.6% of mothers, respectively. Regarding a high-fibre diet as important was associated with being a multiparous mother (P = 0.006), while regarding a low-fat diet as important was associated with low social group (P = 0.018). A quarter of mothers did not consider 'plenty of calories' to be important for their infants, reflecting similar attitudes in 1990 for mothers of term infants; this incorrect attitude exhibited an association with being a first-time mother (P = 0.047).
Infant feeding practices were very variable, showing poor concordance with national and international recommendations for term infants. In selecting foods for their infants, many mothers appeared to be applying principles more appropriate to planning a healthy diet for adults. There is an urgent need to develop and implement evidence-based guidelines for feeding LBW infants after hospital discharge, with special attention given to multiparous mothers as well as mothers from lower social groups.
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