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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Apr;65(4):454-62. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.7. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Infant and early childhood dietary predictors of overweight at age 8 years in the CAPS population.

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Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



Programs to address obesity are a high priority for public policy especially for young children. Research into dietary determinants of obesity is challenging but important for rational planning of interventions to prevent obesity, given that both diet and energy expenditure influence weight status. We investigated whether early life dietary factors were predictive of weight status at 8 years in a cohort of Australian children.


We used data from the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study-a birth cohort at high risk of asthma. Dietary data (3-day weighed food records) were collected at 18 months and height, weight and waist circumference were collected at 8 years. We assessed the relationship between dietary predictor variables and measures of adiposity using linear regression.


Intakes of protein, meat and fruit at age 18 months were positively associated with measures of adiposity at age 8 years, namely, body mass index and/or waist circumference. We also showed a significant negative relationship between these measures of adiposity at 8 years and intake at 18 months of dairy foods as a percent of total energy, and intake of energy dense cereal-based foods such as cookies and crackers.


This birth cohort study with rigorous design, measures and analyses, has shown a number of associations between early dietary intake and subsequent adiposity that contribute to the growing evidence base in this important field.

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