Dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24 months of age are associated with IQ at 8 years of age Authors
First Online: 19 July 2012 Received: 19 December 2011 Accepted: 03 July 2012 DOI:
Cite this article as: Smithers, L.G., Golley, R.K., Mittinty, M.N. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2012) 27: 525. doi:10.1007/s10654-012-9715-5 Abstract
Diet supplies the nutrients needed for the development of neural tissues that occurs over the first 2 years of life. Our aim was to examine associations between dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24 months and intelligence quotient (IQ) scores at 8 years. Participants were enrolled in an observational birth cohort (ALSPAC study, n = 7,097). Dietary data was collected by questionnaire and patterns were extracted at each time using principal component analysis. IQ was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children at 8 years. Associations between dietary patterns and IQ were examined in regression analyses adjusted for potential confounding and by propensity score matching, with data imputation for missing values. At all ages, higher scores on a
Discretionary pattern (characterized by biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soda, crisps) were associated with 1–2 point lower IQ. A Breastfeeding pattern at 6 months and Home- made contemporary patterns at 15 and 24 months (herbs, legumes, cheese, raw fruit and vegetables) were associated with 1-to-2 point higher IQ. A Home- made traditional pattern (meat, cooked vegetables, desserts) at 6 months was positively associated with higher IQ scores, but there was no association with similar patterns at 15 or 24 months. Negative associations were found with patterns characterized by Ready- prepared baby foods at 6 and 15 months and positive associations with a Ready- to- eat foods pattern at 24 months. Propensity score analyses were consistent with regression analyses. This study suggests that dietary patterns from 6 to 24 months may have a small but persistent effect on IQ at 8 years. Keywords Dietary patterns Infant Toddler Intelligence quotient ALSPAC Abbreviations ALSPAC
Avon longitudinal study of parents and children
Certificate of secondary education
Full scale intelligence quotient
Principal component analysis
Performance intelligence quotient
Verbal intelligence quotient
Wechsler intelligence scale for children
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:
) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. 10.1007/s10654-012-9715-5 References
Kramer MS, Aboud F, Mironova E, Vanilovich I, Platt RW, Matush L, et al. Breastfeeding and child cognitive development. Arch Gen Psychiatr. 2008;65(5):578–84.
Brion M-JA, Lawlor DA, Matijasevich A, Horta B, Anselmi L, Araújo CL, et al. What are the causal effects of breastfeeding on IQ, obesity and blood pressure? Evidence from comparing high-income with middle-income cohorts. Int J Epidemiol. 2011;. doi:
McCann JC, Ames BN. An overview of evidence for a causal relation between iron deficiency during development and deficits in cognitive or behavioral function. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;82(4):931–45.
Birch E, Garfield S, Hoffman DR, Uauy R, Birch D. A randomized controlled trial of early dietary supply of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and mental development in term infants. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000;42:174–81.
Gordon RC, Rose MC, Skeaff SA, Gray AR, Morgan KM, Ruffman T. Iodine supplementation improves cognition in mildly iodine-deficient children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(5):1264–71.
Smithers LG, Golley R, Brazionis L, Lynch JW. Characterizing whole diets of young children from developed countries and the association between diet and health: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 2011;69(8):449–67.
Gale CR, Martyn CN, Marriott LD, Limond J, Crozier S, Inskip HM, et al. Dietary patterns in infancy and cognitive and neuropsychological function in childhood. J Child Psychol Psychiatr. 2009;50(7):816–23.
Northstone K, Joinson C, Emmett P, Ness A, Paus T. Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2011;. doi:
Smithers LG, Brazionis L, Golley RK, Mittinty MN, Northsone K, Emett P, McNaughton SA, Campbell KJ, Lynch JW. Dietary patterns at 6 and 15 months of age and socio-demographic factors. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012;. doi:
Golding J, the ALSPAC Study Team. Children of the Nineties: a resource for assessing the magnitude of long-term effects of prenatal, perinatal and subsequent events. Contemp Rev Obstet Gynaecol. 1996;8:89–92.
Wechsler D. The Wechsler intelligence scale for children. 3rd ed. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation; 1991.
Office of Population Censuses & Surveys. Standard occupational classification. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office; 1991.
Caldwell BM, Bradley RH. Home observation for measurement of the environment. Little Rock: University of Arkansas; 1979.
Sterne JA, White IR, Carlin JB, Spratt M, Royston P, Kenward MG, et al. Multiple imputation for missing data in epidemiological and clinical research: potential and pitfalls. Br Med J. 2009;29(338):b2393.
Rubin DB. Inference and missing data. Biometrika. 1976;63(3):581–92.
Royston P. Multiple imputation of missing values. STATA J. 2004;4(3):227–41.
Little RJA, Rubin DB. Bayes and multiple imputation. Statistical analysis with missing data. 2nd ed. Hoboken: Wiley; 2002. p. 200–22.
D’Agostino RB. Propensity score methods for bias reduction in the comparison of a treatment to a non-randomized control group. Stat Med. 1998;17(19):2265–81.
Rosenbaum PR, Rubin DB. The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika. 1983;70(1):44–55.
Rosenbaum PR, Rubin DB. Constructing a control group using multivariate matched sampling incorporating the propensity score. Am Stat. 1985;39:33–8.
Austin PC. Optimal caliper widths for propensity-score matching when estimating differences in means and differences in proportions in observational studies. Pharm Stat. 2010;10:150–61.
Northstone K, Emmett P. Are dietary patterns stable throughout early and mid-childhood? A birth cohort study. Br J Nutr. 2008;100:1069–76.
Mikkila V, Rasanen L, Raitakari OT, Pietinen P, Viikari J. Consistent dietary patterns identified from childhood to adulthood: the cardiovascular risk in young finns study. Br J Nutr. 2005;93(6):923–31.
Robinson S, Marriott L, Poole J, Crozier S, Borland S, Lawrence W, et al. Dietary patterns in infancy: the importance of maternal and family influences on feeding practice. Br J Nutr. 2007;98(05):1029–37.
Jiang M, Foster EM, Gibson-Davis CM. Breastfeeding and the child cognitive outcomes: a propensity score matching approach. Matern Child Health J. 2010;15(8):1296–307.
Iacovou M, Sanz AS. Children’s cognitive development: does breastfeeding really make a difference. Longit Life Course Stud. 2010;1(3):89.
North K, Emmet P, Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC) Study Team. Multivariate analysis of diet a month three-year-old children and associations with socio-demographic characteristics. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000;54:73–80.
Der G, Batty GD, Deary IJ. Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis. Br Med J. 2006;333(7575):945.
CrossRef Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012