Sugar-containing beverage intake in toddlers and body composition up to age 6 years: the Generation R study


Background/Objective: Intake of sugar-containing beverages (SCBs) has been associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in childhood. The potential effect of SCB intake during infancy is unclear. We examined the association of SCB intake at 13 months with BMI development until 6 years and body composition at age 6 years.
Subjects/Methods: This study included 2371 Dutch children from a population-based prospective cohort study. SCB intake at 13 months was assessed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire with validation against 24-h recalls and was standardized for total energy. BMI was calculated from repeated weight and height measurements, and age- and sex-specific s.d. scores were calculated. Adiposity was measured using Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Results: In girls, higher SCB intake at 13 months was significantly associated with higher BMI at ages 2, 3, 4 and 6 years (at age 6 years BMI (s.d. score) increase 0.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) +0.00; 0.23), high versus low intake). We observed a tendency towards higher android/gynoid fat ratio in girls with high intake (s.d. increase 0.14 (95% CI −0.02; 0.29), versus low intake) but not with body fat percentage. In boys, there was no association with BMI or body composition, but boys with high SCB intake at 13 months were taller at age 6 years (s.d. increase 0.14 (95% CI +0.00; 0.27), versus low intake).
Conclusions: Higher SCB intake at 13 months was associated with higher BMI up to age 6 years in girls but not in boys. Our results imply that the unfavorable effects of SCB intake start early in life and that dietary advice regarding limiting SCB intake should already be given early in life.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015, 69 (3), 314 – 321