Lifestyle Patterns Begin in Early Childhood, Persist and Are Socioeconomically Patterned, Confirming the Importance of Early Life Interventions
Traditional approaches to understanding the behavioural determinants of adiposity have considered diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in isolation. Although integrative approaches have identified a variety of lifestyle patterns in children at preschool-age or older, along with some variability by socio-economic positions, this has rarely been examined in younger cohorts. We aimed to identify lifestyle patterns at 1.5, 3.5 and 5 years, including dietary intake, outdoor time and
... door time and television viewing time, to assess associations with maternal education (as a proxy for socio-economic position), and to investigate their persistence between toddlerhood and preschool age. Participants were 417 and 293 children aged 1.5 y from the Melbourne Infant Feeding Activity and Nutrition Trial (InFANT) and InFANT Extend Programs, respectively. Data were collected using questionnaires at child ages 1.5, 3.5 and 5 y (InFANT); and 1.5 and 3.5 y (InFANT Extend). Principal component analysis was undertaken at each time point on the separate and pooled datasets. Associations between the lifestyle patterns scores and maternal education were assessed with multivariable regression analysis. Two lifestyle patterns ("Discretionary consumption and TV" and "Fruit, vegetables and outdoor") were identified as early as 1.5 y. They remained consistent across ages and were evident in both datasets. These patterns were inversely and positively associated with maternal education, respectively. Such early clustering of obesity related energy balance behaviours and tracking during early childhood suggests there may be shared antecedents common to the individual behaviours that could be targeted for intervention. Our findings provide support for interventions targeting multiple behaviours and tailored to the level of family socio-economic disadvantage.