Children consuming milk cereal drink are at increased risk for overweight: The IDEFICS Sweden study, on behalf of the IDEFICS Consortium

Scand J Public Health. 2014 Aug;42(6):518-24. doi: 10.1177/1403494814538124. Epub 2014 Jun 19.


Aims: The aims of this study were to characterize milk cereal drink (MCD) consumption among Swedish children and to investigate the association between MCD and overweight in a longitudinally followed cohort of children over 2 years of age.

Methods: In the Swedish cohort from IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS) we examined early feeding practices and weight status when children were aged 2-9 years (2007/2008) and at 2-year follow-up. Weight and height were measured at both time points in 1077 children. Characteristics of MCD consumers were explored with logistic regression. Body mass index (BMI) z-scores at both time points and weight status at follow-up were regressed on explanatory factors using mixed linear and logistic regression, respectively.

Results: Nearly 69% of children had consumed MCD. The MCD consumers were more likely than never-consumers to have two native Swedish parents, parents with less than 2 years of post-secondary education, and a shorter period of breastfeeding. MCD consumers had a higher BMI z-score at follow-up compared with baseline (difference in BMI z-score=0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.07, 0.17), while the average BMI z-score in non-consumers remained stable over time (0.00, 95% CI= -0.07, 0.07). MCD consumers were nearly five times more likely than non-consumers to become overweight during the follow-up (odds ratio (OR)=4.78, 95% CI=1.68, 13.59), independent of breastfeeding.

Conclusions: MCD was consumed by the majority of children in this study. MCD consumption is associated with an increased risk for overweight and less exposure to breastfeeding. Our findings motivate future research aimed at investigating how MCD should be recommended.

Keywords: BMI z-score; IDEFICS; breastfeeding; childhood overweight; complementary food; energy-providing liquids; milk cereal drink; solid food; välling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Edible Grain / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Milk / adverse effects*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sweden / epidemiology