Dietary risk scores of toddlers are associated with nutrient intakes and socio-demographic factors, but not weight status

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Abstract

Aim:

To determine the convergent validity of the toddler dietary questionnaire (TDQ), previously shown to have good reliability and comparative validity, by assessing whether TDQ-derived dietary risk scores are associated with nutrient intakes, socio-demographic characteristics and weight status.

Methods:

Parents of 117 Australian children aged 12–36 months completed a demographic questionnaire and the 19-item TDQ that assesses intake over the last 7 days of ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ food-groups, which is scored against a dietary risk criteria (0–100; higher score = higher risk). Nutrient intakes were established by applying TDQ food-group nutrient profiles to the amount consumed per week and tallying for all items. Energy and energy-adjusted nutrient intakes across quartiles (Q1–Q4) of dietary risk scores were investigated using linear trend analysis for parametric data. Regression analysis was employed to determine the association between risk score, socio-demographic characteristics and toddler body mass index (BMI) z-score.

Results:

Toddler risk scores (Q1 20.0 ± 2.7 vs Q4 41.6 ± 5.6) were positively associated with energy, total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium intakes and negatively associated with protein, fibre, iron, magnesium and phosphorus intakes. Higher risk scores were associated with higher number of people per household (n = 115; β = 2.26 [0.13, 4.38], P = 0.037) and toddler age (n = 115, β = 4.03 [1.10, 6.96], P = 0.008) but not BMI z-scores (n = 114; β = −0.00 [−0.04, 0.03], P = 0.845).

Conclusions:

Dietary risk scores are associated with selected nutrient intakes and socio-demographic characteristics in expected directions, but not BMI z-scores, providing support for use of the TDQ as a dietary screening tool. Longitudinal investigation of the influence of dietary risk on weight status is warranted.

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