Nutritional risk in early childhood and parent-reported school concerns Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractObjective:To determine if nutritional risk in early childhood is associated with parent-reported school concerns.Design:A prospective cohort study conducted through the TARGet Kids! primary care research network (2011–2018). Nutritional risk was measured between 18 months and 5 years of age using validated parent-completed NutriSTEP® questionnaires with eating behaviour and dietary intake subscores (0 = lowest and 68 = highest total nutritional risk score). Parent-reported school concerns were measured at school age (4–10 years of age) and included: speech and language; learning; attention; behaviour; social relationships; physical coordination; fine motor coordination and self-help skills and independence. The primary outcome was any parent-reported school concerns, and individual school concerns were used as secondary outcomes. Multiple logistic regression models were conducted adjusting for clinically relevant confounders to assess the relationship between nutritional risk and school concerns.Setting:Toronto, Canada.Participants:Children aged 18 months to 10 years.Results:The study included 3655 children, 52 % were male, mean NutriSTEP® score was 14·4 (sd 6·4). Each 1 sd increase in NutriSTEP® total score was associated with a 1·18 times increased odds of school concerns (adj OR: 1·18, 95 % CI 1·07, 1·28, P = 0·0004), and high nutritional risk was associated with a 1·42 times increased odds of school concerns (adj OR: 1·42, 95 % CI 1·13, 1·78, P = 0·002).Conclusions:Nutritional risk in early childhood was associated with school concerns. Nutritional interventions in early childhood may reveal opportunities to enhance school outcomes.


  • Omand, Jessica A
  • Janus, Magdalena
  • Maguire, Jonathon L
  • Parkin, Patricia C
  • Randall Simpson, Janis
  • Keown-Stoneman, Charles DG
  • Aglipay, Mary
  • Birken, Catherine S

publication date

  • December 2021