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There is limited data on the dietary patterns of 5-year-old children in Asia. The study examined childhood dietary patterns and their maternal and child correlates in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort. Based on caregiver-reported 1-month quantitative FFQ of 777 children from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort, cluster analysis identified two mutually exclusive clusters. Children in the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (43·9 %) consumed more fries, processed meat, biscuits and ice cream, and less fish, fruits and vegetables compared with those in the ‘Healthy’ cluster (56·1 %). Children with mothers of lower educational attainment had twice the odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR (95 % CI) = 2·19 (95 % CI 1·49–3·24)). Children of Malay and Indian ethnicities had higher odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR = 25·46 (95 % CI 15·40, 42·10) and 4·03 (95 % CI 2·68–6·06), respectively), relative to Chinese ethnicity. In conclusion, this study identified two dietary patterns in children, labelled as the ‘Unhealthy’ and ‘Healthy’ clusters. Mothers’ educational attainment and ethnicity were two correlates that were associated with the children’s assignments to the clusters. These findings can assist in informing health promotion programmes targeted at Asian children.
To identify a posteriori dietary patterns among women planning pregnancy and assess the reproducibility of these patterns in a subsample using two dietary assessment methods.
A semi-quantitative FFQ was administered to women enrolled in the Singapore PREconception Study of long-Term maternal and child Outcomes study. Dietary patterns from the FFQ were identified using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). In a subsample of women (n 289), 3-d food diaries (3DFD) were also completed and analysed. Reproducibility of the identified patterns was assessed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in the subsample, and goodness of fit of the CFA models was examined using several fit indices. Subsequently, EFA was conducted in the subsample and dietary patterns of the FFQ and the 3DFD were compared.
1007 women planning pregnancy (18–45 years).
Three dietary patterns were identified from the FFQ: the ‘Fish, Poultry/Meat and Noodles’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of fish, poultry/meat and noodles in soup; ‘Fast Food and Sweetened Beverages’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of fast food, sweetened beverages and fried snacks; ‘Bread, Legumes and Dairy’ pattern was characterised by higher intakes of buns/ethnic breads, nuts/legumes and dairy products. The comparative fit indices from the CFA models were 0·79 and 0·34 for the FFQ and 3DFD of the subsample, respectively. In the subsample, three similar patterns were identified in the FFQ while only two for the 3DFD.
Dietary patterns from the FFQ are reproducible within this cohort, providing a basis for future investigations on diet and health outcomes.
Maternal and child health are intrinsically linked. With accumulating evidence over the past two decades supporting the developmental origins of health and diseases hypothesis, it is now widely recognised that nutrition in the first 1000 d sets the foundation for long-term health. Maternal diet before, during and after pregnancy can influence the developmental pathways of the fetus and lead to health consequences later in life. While maternal and infant mortality rates have declined significantly in the past two decades, the growing burden of obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases in women of reproductive age and children is on a rapid rise worldwide, in developed and developing countries. A key contributory factor is malnutrition, which is a consequence of consuming poor quality diets. Suboptimal macronutrient balance and micronutrient inadequacies can lead to undesirable maternal body composition and metabolism, in turn influencing the health of the mother and leading to longer-term metabolic and cognitive health consequences in the infant. The GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes) study, a mother–offspring multi-ethnic cohort study in Singapore, has contributed to this body of evidence over the past 10 years. This review will illustrate how nutritional epidemiological research through a birth cohort has illuminated the importance and urgency of maternal and child nutrition and health in a modern, industrialised setting. It underscores the importance of a number of critical nutrients during pregnancy, in combination with healthy dietary patterns and appropriate meal timing, for optimal maternal and child health.
Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) by infants and young children are less explored in Asian populations. The Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort study examined associations between SSB intake at 18 months and 5 years of age, with adiposity measures at 6 years of age. We studied Singaporean infants/children with SSB intake assessed by FFQ at 18 months of age (n 555) and 5 years of age (n 767). The median for SSB intakes is 28 (interquartile range 5·5–98) ml at 18 months of age and 111 (interquartile range 57–198) ml at 5 years of age. Association between SSB intake (100 ml/d increments and tertile categories) and adiposity measures (BMI standard deviation scores (sd units), sum of skinfolds (SSF)) and overweight/obesity status were examined using multivariable linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. After adjusting for confounders and additionally for energy intake, SSB intake at age 18 months were not significantly associated with later adiposity measures and overweight/obesity outcomes. In contrast, at age 5 years, SSB intake when modelled as 100 ml/d increments were associated with higher BMI by 0·09 (95 % CI 0·02, 0·16) sd units, higher SSF thickness by 0·68 (95 % CI 0·06, 1·44) mm and increased risk of overweight/obesity by 1·2 (95 % CI 1·07, 1·23) times at age 6 years. Trends were consistent with SSB intake modelled as categorical tertiles. In summary, SSB intake in young childhood is associated with higher risks of adiposity and overweight/obesity. Public health policies working to reduce SSB consumption need to focus on prevention programmes targeted at young children.
Dietary intake of toddlers has been of growing interest due to its long-term consequences on health. However, previous works have focused largely on Caucasian populations and less is known about Asian toddlers. We aimed to validate a semi-quantitative FFQ designed to assess dietary intakes of 18-month-old toddlers in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort.
An FFQ of ninety-four food items, identified based on food records of 12-month-old GUSTO children, the Southampton Women’s Survey 12 Month Infancy Questionnaire and inputs from paediatric dietitians, was filled out two weeks before the 18th-month clinic visit. As the reference method, two non-consecutive 24 h recalls (24HR) were administered during and two weeks after the clinic visit. FFQ nutrient intakes were validated against averaged 24HR nutrient intakes, using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Spearman’s rank-order correlation, cross-classification and the Bland–Altman method.
Data from the Singapore Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) mother–offspring birth cohort.
Toddlers (n 188) aged 18 months.
Absolute nutrient intakes from the FFQ were significantly higher than from the 24HR, except for vitamin A. After energy adjustments, r range was 0·56–0·78 (macronutrients) and 0·40–0·54 (micronutrients). De-attenuation increased r to 0·58–0·96 and 0·45–0·65 for macro- and micronutrients, respectively. Of participants, ≥82·4 % (macronutrients) and ≥77·7 % (micronutrients) were classified in the same and adjacent quartiles. No clear systematic increase in intake differences with increasing mean intake was observed in Bland–Altman plots.
This FFQ can provide a satisfactory assessment of toddlers’ energy-adjusted nutrient intakes, as well as accurately rank them in a group.
Faster eating rates are associated with increased energy intake, but little is known about the relationship between children’s eating rate, food intake and adiposity. We examined whether children who eat faster consume more energy and whether this is associated with higher weight status and adiposity. We hypothesised that eating rate mediates the relationship between child weight and ad libitum energy intake. Children (n 386) from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort participated in a video-recorded ad libitum lunch at 4·5 years to measure acute energy intake. Videos were coded for three eating-behaviours (bites, chews and swallows) to derive a measure of eating rate (g/min). BMI and anthropometric indices of adiposity were measured. A subset of children underwent MRI scanning (n 153) to measure abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adiposity. Children above/below the median eating rate were categorised as slower and faster eaters, and compared across body composition measures. There was a strong positive relationship between eating rate and energy intake (r 0·61, P<0·001) and a positive linear relationship between eating rate and children’s BMI status. Faster eaters consumed 75 % more energy content than slower eating children (Δ548 kJ (Δ131 kcal); 95 % CI 107·6, 154·4, P<0·001), and had higher whole-body (P<0·05) and subcutaneous abdominal adiposity (Δ118·3 cc; 95 % CI 24·0, 212·7, P=0·014). Mediation analysis showed that eating rate mediates the link between child weight and energy intake during a meal (b 13·59; 95 % CI 7·48, 21·83). Children who ate faster had higher energy intake, and this was associated with increased BMI z-score and adiposity.
Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy has been associated with infant birth and postnatal growth outcomes, but reported findings have been inconsistent, especially in relation to postnatal growth and adiposity outcomes. In a mother–offspring cohort in Singapore, maternal plasma vitamin D was measured between 26 and 28 weeks of gestation, and anthropometric measurements were obtained from singleton offspring during the first 2 years of life with 3-month follow-up intervals to examine birth, growth and adiposity outcomes. Associations were analysed using multivariable linear regression. Of a total of 910 mothers, 13·2 % were vitamin D deficient (<50 nmol/l) and 26·5 % were insufficient (50–75 nmol/l). After adjustment for potential confounders and multiple testing, no statistically significant associations were observed between maternal vitamin D status and any of the birth outcomes – small for gestational age (OR 1·00; 95 % CI 0·56, 1·79) and pre-term birth (OR 1·16; 95 % CI 0·64, 2·11) – growth outcomes – weight-for-age z-scores, length-for-age z-scores, circumferences of the head, abdomen and mid-arm at birth or postnatally – and adiposity outcomes – BMI, and skinfold thickness (triceps, biceps and subscapular) at birth or postnatally. Maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy did not influence infant birth outcomes, postnatal growth and adiposity outcomes in this cohort, perhaps due to the low prevalence (1·6 % of the cohort) of severe maternal vitamin D deficiency (defined as of <30·0 nmol/l) in our population.
The aims of this study were to develop and validate a prediction equation of fat-free mass (FFM) based on bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and anthropometry using air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) as a reference in Asian neonates and to test the applicability of the prediction equations in an independent Western cohort. A total of 173 neonates at birth and 140 at two weeks of age were included. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to develop the prediction equations in a two-third randomly selected subset and validated on the remaining one-third subset at each time point and in an independent Queensland cohort. FFM measured by ADP was the dependent variable, and anthropometric measures, sex and impedance quotient (L2/R50) were independent variables in the model. Accuracy of prediction equations was assessed using intra-class correlation and Bland–Altman analyses. L2/R50 was the significant predictor of FFM at week two but not at birth. Compared with the model using weight, sex and length, including L2/R50 slightly improved the prediction with a bias of 0·01 kg with 2 sd limits of agreement (LOA) (0·18, −0·20). Prediction explained 88·9 % of variation but not beyond that of anthropometry. Applying these equations to the Queensland cohort provided similar performance at the appropriate age. However, when the Queensland equations were applied to our cohort, the bias increased slightly but with similar LOA. BIA appears to have limited use in predicting FFM in the first few weeks of life compared with simple anthropometry in Asian populations. There is a need for population- and age-appropriate FFM prediction equations.