BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) have previously shown that dietary patterns are observable by 3 years. However, it is not clear when dietary patterns emerge. We aimed to describe dietary patterns in early life and their associations with maternal and infant sociodemographic characteristics. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Principal component analysis was applied to diet questionnaires of ALSPAC participants at 6 months (n=7052) and 15 months (n=5610) to extract dietary patterns. The sociodemographic factors associated with dietary patterns were investigated using regression analyses. RESULTS: Four dietary patterns were extracted at both 6 and 15 months. A traditional-style pattern characterized by home-prepared meats, vegetables and desserts, a second pattern characterized by ready-prepared baby foods and a third pattern characterized by discretionary foods such as biscuits, sweets and crisps were identified at both ages. At 6 months, the fourth pattern was characterized predominantly by breastfeeding and at 15 months, by contemporary-style foods including herbs, legumes, nuts, raw fruit and vegetables. Higher maternal age and education, number of siblings and lower body mass index (BMI) was associated with higher scores on the breastfeeding or meat, vegetables and desserts patterns, whereas higher discretionary food pattern scores were associated with younger maternal age, lower education, higher BMI and more siblings. Associations between sociodemographic factors and the ready-prepared baby food pattern scores were inconsistent across ages. CONCLUSIONS: Dietary patterns emerge from infancy and are associated with sociodemographic characteristics.
- dietary patterns
- longitudinal study