Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):491-8. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

'Junk food' diet and childhood behavioural problems: results from the ALSPAC cohort.

Author information

1
Department of Community Based Medicine, Academic Unit of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. nicola.wiles@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether a 'junk food' diet at age 4(1/2) is associated with behavioural problems at age 7.

SUBJECTS/METHODS:

Data on approximately 4000 children participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a birth cohort recruited in Avon, UK in 1991/92 were used. Behavioural problems were measured at age 7 using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; maternal completion). Total difficulties and scores for the five sub-scales (hyperactivity, conduct and peer problems, emotional symptoms and pro-social behaviour) were calculated. Principal components analysis of dietary data (frequency of consumption of 57 foods/drinks) collected at age 4(1/2) by maternal report was used to generate a 'junk food' factor. Data on confounders were available from questionnaires.

RESULTS:

A one standard deviation increase in 'junk food' intake at age 4(1/2) years was associated with increased hyperactivity at age 7 (odds ratio: 1.19; 95% confidence interval: 1.10, 1.29). This persisted after adjustment for confounders including intelligence quotient score (odds ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 1.01, 1.15). There was little evidence to support an association between 'junk food' intake and overall behavioural difficulties or other sub-scales of the SDQ.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children eating a diet high in 'junk food' in early childhood were more likely to be in the top 33% on the SDQ hyperactivity sub-scale at age 7. This may reflect a long-term nutritional imbalance, or differences in parenting style. This finding requires replication before it can provide an avenue for intervention.

PMID:
18059416
PMCID:
PMC2664919
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602967
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center