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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-5014-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Health inequalities are already present at young age and tend to vary with ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES). Diet is a major determinant of overweight, and studying dietary patterns as a whole in relation to overweight rather than single nutrients or foods has been suggested. We derived dietary patterns at age 5 and determined whether ethnicity and SES were both related to these dietary patterns.
We analysed 2769 validated Food Frequency Questionnaires filled in by mothers of children (5.7 ± 0.5y) in the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) cohort. Food items were reduced to 41 food groups. Energy adjusted intake per food group (g/d) was used to derive dietary patterns using Principal Component Analysis and children were given a pattern score for each dietary pattern. We defined 5 ethnic groups (Dutch, Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, other ethnicities) and 3 SES groups (low, middle, high, based on maternal education). Multivariate ANOVA, with adjustment for age, gender and maternal age, was used to test potential associations between ethnicity or SES and dietary pattern scores. Post-hoc analyses with Bonferroni adjustment were used to examine differences between groups.
Principal Component Analysis identified 4 dietary patterns: a snacking, full-fat, meat and healthy dietary pattern, explaining 21% of the variation in dietary intake. Ethnicity was related to the dietary pattern scores (p < 0.01): non-Dutch children scored high on snacking and healthy pattern, whereas Turkish children scored high on full-fat and Surinamese children on the meat pattern. SES was related to the snacking, full-fat and meat patterns (p < 0.01): low SES children scored high on the snacking and meat pattern and low on the full-fat pattern.
This study indicates that both ethnicity and SES are relevant for dietary patterns at age 5 and may enable more specific nutrition education to specific ethnic and low socioeconomic status target groups.