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The Relationship between Nutrition in Infancy and Cognitive Performance during Adolescence


Nyaradi, A and Oddy, WH and Hickling, S and Li, J and Foster, JK, The Relationship between Nutrition in Infancy and Cognitive Performance during Adolescence, Frontiers in Nutrition, 2, (2) pp. 1-8. ISSN 2296-861X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3389/fnut.2015.00002


OBJECTIVES: In this study, we aimed to investigate the long-term associations between breastfeeding duration during infancy, diet quality as measured by a diet score at 1 year of age, and cognitive performance during adolescence.

METHODS: Participants (n = 717) were recruited from the West Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, a prospective longitudinal study of 2868 children and their families based in Perth, WA, Australia. Breastfeeding duration and an early diet score at age 1 year were used as the main predictor variables, while a computerized cognitive battery (CogState) was used to assess adolescents' cognitive performance at 17 years. The diet score, which has seven food group components, was based on a 24-h recall questionnaire completed by the mother at 1 year of age. A higher diet score represents a better, more nutritious eating pattern. Associations between breastfeeding duration, diet score, and cognitive performance were assessed in multivariable regression models.

RESULTS: Higher diet scores at 1 year representing better diet quality were significantly associated with faster reaction times in cognitive performance at 17 years [Detection Task (DET): β = -0.004, 95% CI: -0.008; 0.000, p = 0.036; Identification Task (IDN): β = -0.004, 95% CI: -0.008; 0.000, p = 0.027]. Breastfeeding duration (≥4 months) was also significantly associated with a shorter reaction time, but only for males (DET: β = -0.026, 95% CI: -0.046; -0.006, p = 0.010).

CONCLUSION: Nutrition in early childhood may have a long-term association with fundamental cognitive processing speed, which is likely to be related to enhanced brain development in the first year of life.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:CogState, Raine study, adolescence, breastfeeding, cognitive performance, early childhood, nutrition
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Sport and exercise nutrition
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Oddy, WH (Professor Wendy Oddy)
ID Code:107309
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-03-09
Last Modified:2018-02-01

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