Dietary patterns and risk of obesity and early childhood caries in Australian toddlers: Findings from an australian cohort study

Lucinda K. Bell, Celeste Schammer, Gemma Devenish, Diep Ha, Murray W. Thomson, John A. Spencer, Loc G. Do, Jane A. Scott, Rebecca K. Golley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We examined associations between dietary patterns at 12 months, characterised using multiple methodologies, and risk of obesity and early childhood caries (ECC) at 24–36 months. Participants were Australian toddlers (n = 1170) from the Study of Mothers’ and Infants’ Life Events affecting oral health (SMILE) birth cohort. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and the Dietary Guideline Index for Children and Adolescents (DGI-CA) were applied to dietary intake data (1, 2 or 3-days) at 12 months, and regression analysis used to examine associations of dietary patterns with body mass index Z-score and presence of ECC at 24–36 months. Two dietary patterns were extracted using PCA: family diet and cow’s milk and discretionary combination. The mean DGI-CA score was 56 ± 13 (out of a possible 100). No statistically significant or clinically meaningful associations were found between dietary pattern or DGI-CA scores, and BMI Z-scores or ECC (n = 680). Higher cow’s milk and discretionary combination pattern scores were associated with higher energy and free sugars intakes, and higher family diet pattern scores and DGI-CA scores with lower free sugars intakes. The association between dietary patterns and intermediate outcomes of free sugars and energy intakes suggests that obesity and/or ECC may not yet have manifested, and thus longitudinal investigation beyond two years of age is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2828
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Nov 2019


  • Child List three to ten pertinent specific to the article
  • Dental caries
  • Diet quality
  • Dietary patterns
  • Early childhood
  • Obesity
  • Toddlers
  • Yet reasonably common within the subject discipline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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