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1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
The stability of dietary habits through various life-stages is not well understood. A better understanding of the tracking of diet over time could have implications for health promotion as well as for the planning of nutritional epidemiology studies. We examined the stability of dietary intakes of children and adolescents over six years. As part of the European Youth Heart Study, in 1998-9, a 24-h dietary recall was performed on over one thousand 9- and 15-year-olds in Sweden. In 2004-5, 40% returned to the follow-up study. These 452 subjects (273 15- and 179 21-year-olds) were assigned to age- and gender-specific tertiles of intakes of food groups, energy, selected nutrients and energy density (low, mid and high) at each time point. The agreement between the classification of subjects into tertiles at both time points was examined using Cohen's weighted kappa and other stability coefficients. We included a dropout analysis and considered the effect that energy mis-reporting might have on our results. Fair tracking was seen between childhood and adolescence for the milk, fil and yoghurt food group (kappa = 0.30), and between adolescence and young adulthood for fruit (kappa = 0.24). Slight tracking was observed for most other food groups and fair to slight tracking for all nutrients studied. Only membership of the high milk, fil and yoghurt tertile could be predicted from membership at baseline, in children. Excluding potential energy mis-reporters did not affect the results. Despite the long time between data collections, and the method of dietary data collection used, evidence for slight tracking was observed for most food groups and nutrients over these six years.
Patterson, E., Wamburg, J. & Kearney, J.M. (2009). The tracking of dietary intakes of children and adolescents in Sweden over six years: The European Youth Heart Study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 6, no. 1, pg. 91 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-91