Characterization of transition diets spanning infancy and toddlerhood: A novel, multiple-time-point application of principal components analysis

Laima Brazionis, Rebecca K. Golley, Murthy N. Mittinty, Lisa G. Smithers, Pauline Emmett, Kate Northstone, John W. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The portrayal of diet over time is a natural progression from the characterization of diet at single time points. The transition dietary period, a dynamic period of rapid dietary change spanning infancy and toddlerhood when children shift from a milkbased to a food-based diet, has not been characterized. Objective: The objective was to summarize variation in dietary intakes spanning infancy and toddlerhood. Design: A prospective principal components analysis was applied to dietary intakes from 3 successive follow-ups of children enrolled in the ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children). The frequency of food and beverage consumption was assessed via questionnaire at ages 6, 15, and 24 mo (n = 2169). Results: Two types of transition diet were identified. The first transition diet was characterized by the consumption of home-prepared and raw foods ("healthy") at all time points and the second by ready-prepared and discretionary foods ("less healthy") consistently over time. Higher educational level and maternal age were associated with higher scores on the "healthy" diet, whereas younger maternal age and a lower educational level were associated with higher scores on the "less healthy" diet. Maternal BMI, number of older siblings, and lower social class were associated with the lesshealthy transition diet but not with the healthy transition diet. Conclusions: Unique transition diets, including a less-healthy type, emerge by age 2 y. These diets are consistent with childhood and adult dietary patterns reported at single time points and show convergent validity both with known maternal sociodemographic predictors of childhood diet and with intake gradients across diet scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1208
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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