Deakin University
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A health promotion intervention can affect diet quality in early childhood

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Initiatives to promote children’s nutrition and prevent childhood obesity are vital. Dietary patterns are a useful way to characterize whole diets, though no previous early childhood health promotion trial has assessed intervention impact using this approach. This research aimed to assess the effect on young children’s dietary patterns of a healthy eating and physical activity intervention. The Melbourne Infant Feeding Activity and Nutrition Trial (InFANT) Program was a health promotion cluster-randomized controlled trial involving 542 families. Child diets were assessed by multiple 24-hour recalls post-intervention, at approximately 18 months of age. An Obesity Protective Dietary Index was created, and dietary patterns were also assessed by principal components analysis. These outcomes were used to compare intervention and control participants to test the effectiveness of the intervention. Children in the intervention arm scored significantly higher (15.6 ± 5.9) than those in the control arm (14.5 ± 6.7) for the Obesity Protective Dietary Index (scores out of 30, p=0.01). Three dietary patterns were identified by principal components analysis, however, scores were not significantly different between intervention and control arms. In conclusion, this paper presents novel results in both the evaluation of an early childhood health promotion intervention and in the assessment of child dietary patterns. The results highlight the capacity for such an initiative to improve child diets, and the need for further research in this area.



Journal of nutrition




1672 - 1678


Bethesda, Maryland

Open access

  • Yes







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, American Society for Nutrition