Dietary patterns and obesity in preschool children in Australia: A cross-sectional study

Zumin Shi, Maria Makrides, Shao Jia Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: Dietary patterns have been linked to the risk of obesity in adults but little is known about such a link in young children. To examine the association between dietary patterns, nutrient intake and obesity in a representative population of preschool children in Australia. Methods and Study Design: Dietary intake was assessed using a 3-day weighed food diary. Dietary patterns were identified by factor analysis. Children were classified as overweight or obesity if their BMI z-score was between the 85th-95th percentiles or was above the 95th percentile, respectively. Results: Three dietary patterns were identified. The 'Traditional' pattern was characterised by grains, fruit, vegetables, and red meat. The 'Processed' pattern was characterised by processed meats, snack foods and confectionary. The 'Health conscious' pattern was characterised by eggs, fish, polyunsaturated margarines and low fat dairy products. The "Traditional' pattern was positively associated with protein and zinc intake while the 'Processed' pattern was inversely associated. Both patterns were inversely associated with calcium intake. No associations were found between the 'Health conscious' pattern and macronutrients and key micronutrients intakes. The 'Traditional' pattern was positively associated with obesity but the association became non-significant after adjustment for energy and protein intake. No association was observed between the other two dietary patterns and weight status. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study, dietary patterns were not associated with obesity. Longitudinal follow up will help to better understand the relationship between dietary patterns in early childhood and the risk of obesity later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-412
Number of pages7
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2018


  • Dietary patterns
  • Intake
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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