Tracking Dietary Patterns over 20 Years from Childhood through Adolescence into Young Adulthood: The Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study

Nutrients. 2017 Sep 8;9(9):990. doi: 10.3390/nu9090990.


Dietary patterns established during adolescence might play a role in adulthood disease. We examined the stability of dietary patterns (DPs) from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood (from age 8 to 34 years). Data from 130 participants (53 females) of Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study (aged 8-15 years, at baseline) were included. Multiple 24-h recalls were collected annually from 1991 to 1997, 2002 to 2005, and 2010 and 2011. Using principal component analysis, "Vegetarian-style", "Western-like", "High-fat, high-protein", "Mixed", and "Snack" DPs were derived at baseline. Applied DP scores for all annual measurements were calculated using factor loading of baseline DPs and energy-adjusted food group intakes. We analyzed data using generalized estimating equations. The tracking coefficient represents correlation between baseline dietary pattern scores and all other follow-up dietary pattern scores. We found a moderate tracking for the "Vegetarian-style" (β = 0.44, p < 0.001) and "High-fat, high-protein" (β = 0.39, p < 0.001) DPs in females and "Vegetarian-style" DP (β = 0.30, p < 0.001) in males. The remaining DPs showed poor-to-fair tracking in both sexes. No tracking for "Western-like" DP in females was observed. Assessing overall change in DP scores from childhood to young adulthood showed an increasing trend in adherence to "Vegetarian-style" DP and decreasing trend in adherence to "High-fat, high-protein" DP by age in both sexes (p < 0.001), while "Western-like" and "Mixed" DP scores increased only in males (p < 0.001). These findings suggest that healthy dietary habits established during childhood and adolescence moderately continue into adulthood.

Keywords: adolescence; adulthood; childhood; dietary patterns; generalized estimating equations; longitudinal change; stability; tracking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Child
  • Diet / classification*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Young Adult