The period in a child’s life from conception to age 2 is a critical period for growth and development. This stage determines the development of vital organs and regulatory systems, as well as a child’s personality, mental health, and social-emotional growth. Therefore, optimal nutrition must be provided during pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life.
Important factors affecting the early stages of life are nutrition and upbringing. Nutrition is provided initially by formula or breast milk and later by nutritious foods. This affects the physiological development of children. Iron, iodine, and long-chain fatty acids have been identified as essential for normal brain development. Deficiency can result in irreversible harm to cognitive and neuromotor development.
Feeding a child is considered an important interactive event related to the child’s social-emotional development. Children usually imitate their caregivers and family members and acquire important lifelong skills.
Similar to non-communicable diseases, children may develop depression and anxiety at an early age. Often these mental health conditions are seen in children aged 5 to her 9 years old. Poor nutrition in early childhood has been observed to predispose children to mental health conditions. Maternal diet is also associated with mental health conditions (eg, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) and neurodevelopment in offspring.
Personal traits are usually expressed as five different traits, including conscientiousness, imagination, extroversion, neuroticism, and philanthropy. These personality traits are called the Five Personality Traits. Few studies have analyzed the association between early childhood diet and subsequent mental health status.
Recent nutrients One study investigated the relationship between maternal and infant diet and the child’s personality traits and mental health, namely depression and anxiety.
The authors of the current study previously developed a new Nordic Diet (NND) score to help determine the level of adherence to healthy and sustainable eating patterns. This study is based on data obtained from the Norwegian Medical Birth Register (MBRN) and the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
MoBa is a prospective population-based pregnancy cohort study that recruited participants from 1999 to 2008. This cohort included approximately 114,500 children, 95,200 mothers, and 75,200 fathers. All participants who completed a baseline questionnaire, the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) around 17 weeks of gestation, were included in the study. Another inclusion criterion was that the child had completed a questionnaire given to the mother when she was 8 years old.
A total of 40,566 mother-infant pairs were included in the study and completed questionnaires at different times, when children were 6 months, 18 months, 3 years, 7 years, and 8 years. Based on MoBa data, this study established a strong relationship between early childhood diet and the Big 5 personality traits.
In addition, associations between early diet and mental health conditions, especially later childhood anxiety and depression, have been explored. It was observed that psychiatric symptoms tend to occur at the stage of
Maternal adherence to the NND during pregnancy was associated with lower depression scale scores when the child was 8 years old. However, no significant association with anxiety was observed. A healthy and sustainable maternal diet was associated with higher trait scores in conscientiousness, extraversion, compassion and imagination, and lower scores in neuroticism.
This study reveals that early feeding in children at 6 months, 18 months, 3 years and 7 years is associated with the incidence of anxiety and depressive symptoms at 8 years of age. became. However, the diets of the 3-year-old and her 7-year-old were found to play a more positive role in the incidence of anxiety and depression in children compared to the diets of earlier ages.
strengths and limitations
A major strength of this study is the analysis of large, well-described, population-based prospective birth cohorts that presents the possibility of adjusting for potential confounding factors. Additionally, the tools used to assess children’s mental health and personality traits are reliable and valid.
The current study also has some limitations, such as self-reported data for analysis. In addition, all participating mothers were nonsmokers, older, and regularly used multivitamins and folic acid supplements. As such, it does not represent the general population. The authors noted that the children’s diet-related questions were less detailed than the mother’s questionnaire.
Current research highlights the importance of maternal pregnancy diet and early childhood diet on children’s mental health: incidence of anxiety and depression, and personality development. To date, no study has reported an association between early childhood diet and her five major personality traits.