BACKGROUND: Social inequalities in bodyweight start early in life and track into adulthood. Dietary patterns are an important determinant of weight development in children, towards both overweight and underweight. Therefore, we aimed to examine weight development between age 5 and 10 years by ethnicity, SES and thereafter by BMI category at age 5, to explore its association with dietary patterns at age 5.
METHODS: Participants were 1765 children from the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) cohort that had valid data on BMI at age 5 and 10 and diet at age 5. Linear mixed model analysis was used to examine weight development between age 5 and 10 years and to assess if four previously identified dietary patterns at age 5 (snacking, full-fat, meat and healthy) were associated with weight development. Analyses were adjusted for relevant confounders, stratified by ethnicity and SES and thereafter stratified per BMI category at age 5.
RESULTS: Overall, weight decreased in Dutch and high SES children and increased in non-Dutch and low/middle SES children. Across the range of bodyweight categories at age 5, we observed a conversion to normal weight, which was stronger in Dutch and high SES children but less pronounced in non-Dutch and low/middle SES children. Overall, the observed associations between weight development and dietary patterns were mixed with some unexpected findings: a healthy dietary pattern was positively associated with weight development in most groups, regardless of ethnicity and SES (e.g. Dutch B 0.084, 95% CI 0.038;0.130 and high SES B 0.096, 95% CI 0.047;0.143) whereas the full-fat pattern was negatively associated with weight development (e.g. Dutch B -0.069, 95% CI -0.114;-0.024 and high SES B -0.072, 95% CI -0.119;-0.026).
CONCLUSIONS: We observed differential weight development per ethnic and SES group. Our results indicate that each ethnic and SES group follows its own path of weight development. Associations between dietary patterns and weight development showed some unexpected findings; follow-up research is needed to understand the association between dietary patterns and weight development.