Suvi Ahonen

University of Tampere, Tammerfors, Province of Western Finland, Finland

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Publications (17)66.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The role of microbial exposure during early life in the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus is unclear.
    JAMA Pediatrics 06/2014; · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, the bacterial diversity of the intestinal flora and the diversity of various environmental factors during infancy have been linked to the development of allergies in childhood. Food is an important environmental exposure, but the role of food diversity in the development of asthma and allergies in childhood is poorly defined. We studied the associations between food diversity during the first year of life and the development of asthma and allergies by age 5 years. In a Finnish birth cohort we analyzed data on 3142 consecutively born children. We studied food diversity at 3, 4, 6, and 12 months of age. Asthma, wheeze, atopic eczema, and allergic rhinitis were measured by using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire at age 5 years. By 3 and 4 months of age, food diversity was not associated with any of the allergic end points. By 6 months of age, less food diversity was associated with increased risk of allergic rhinitis but not with the other end points. By 12 months of age, less food diversity was associated with increased risk of any asthma, atopic asthma, wheeze, and allergic rhinitis. Less food diversity during the first year of life might increase the risk of asthma and allergies in childhood. The mechanisms for this association are unclear, but increased dietary antigen exposure might contribute to this link.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2014; · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence questions current recommendations on the timing of infant feeding for the prevention of childhood allergies. The evidence for asthma is inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate the associations between the duration of breast-feeding and timing of introduction of complementary foods and the development of asthma and allergies by the age of 5 years. METHODS: Data were analyzed for 3781 consecutively born children. The dietary exposures were categorized into thirds and analyzed as time-dependent variables. Asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic eczema end points were assessed by using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire, whereas IgE antibodies were analyzed from serum samples at the age of 5 years. Cox proportional hazard and logistic regressions were used for the analyses. RESULTS: The median duration of exclusive and total breast-feeding was 1.4 months (interquartile range, 0.2-3.5 months) and 7.0 months (interquartile range, 4.0-11.0 months), respectively. Total breast-feeding of 9.5 months or less was associated with an increased risk of nonatopic asthma. Introduction of wheat, rye, oats, or barley at 5 to 5.5 months was inversely associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis, whereas introduction of other cereals at less than 4.5 months increased the risk of atopic eczema. Introduction of egg at 11 months or less was inversely associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic sensitization, whereas introduction of fish at 9 months or less was inversely associated with allergic rhinitis and atopic sensitization. CONCLUSION: Early introduction of wheat, rye, oats, and barley cereals; fish; and egg (respective to the timing of introduction of each food) seems to decrease the risk of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic sensitization in childhood. Longer duration of total breast-feeding, rather than its exclusivity, was protective against the development of nonatopic but not atopic asthma, suggesting a potential differing effect of breast-feeding on different asthma phenotypes.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2013; 131(1):78-86. · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing and GDM might be prevented by improving diet. Few interventions have assessed the effects of dietary counselling on dietary intake of pregnant women. This study examined the effects of dietary counselling on food habits and dietary intake of Finnish pregnant women as secondary outcomes of a trial primarily aiming at preventing GDM. A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 14 municipalities in Finland, including 399 pregnant women at increased risk for developing GDM. The intervention consisted of dietary counselling focusing on dietary fat, fibre and saccharose intake at four routine maternity clinic visits. Usual counselling practices were continued in the usual care municipalities. A validated 181-item food frequency questionnaire was used to assess changes in diet from baseline to 26-28 and 36-37 weeks gestation. The data were analysed using multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models. By 36-37 weeks gestation, the intervention had beneficial effects on total intake of vegetables, fruits and berries (coefficient for between-group difference in change 61.6 g day(-1) , 95% confidence interval 25.7-97.6), the proportions of high-fibre bread of all bread (7.2% units, 2.5-11.9), low-fat cheeses of all cheeses (10.7% units, 2.6-18.9) and vegetable fats of all dietary fats (6.1% -units, 2.0-10.3), and the intake of saturated fatty acids (-0.67 energy-%-units, -1.16 to -0.19), polyunsaturated fatty acids (0.38 energy-%-units, 0.18-0.58), linoleic acid (764 mg day(-1) , 173-1354) and fibre (2.07 g day(-1) , 0.39-3.75). The intervention improved diet towards the recommendations in pregnant women at increased risk for GDM suggesting the counselling methods could be implemented in maternity care.
    Maternal and Child Nutrition 06/2012; · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To assess the most important sociodemographic determinants of age at introduction of complementary foods in infancy. DESIGN: A prospective birth cohort with increased risk of type 1 diabetes, recruited between 1996 and 2004. The families completed at home a follow-up form on the age at introduction of new foods and, for each clinic visit, a structured dietary questionnaire with 3 d food records. SETTING: Data from the Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) Project, Finland. SUBJECTS: A cohort of 5991 infants (77 % of those invited) belonging to the DIPP Nutrition Study. RESULTS: Sixty-three per cent of the infants were introduced to complementary foods, including infant formula, before the age of 4 months. The median age at introduction of infant formula was 1·5 months (range 0-18 months) and that of the first other complementary food 3·5 months (range 0·7-8 months). All sociodemographic and lifestyle factors studied were associated with the age at introduction of infant formula and/or first other complementary food. Female sex of the infant, being born in the southern region of Finland, living in a rural municipality, the presence of siblings, the mother or the father being a high-school graduate, high maternal professional education and maternal non-smoking during pregnancy predicted later introduction of complementary foods. CONCLUSIONS: Compliance was relatively poor with the current recommendations for the age of introducing complementary foods. Small-sized young families with less well-educated parents were most prone to introduce complementary foods early.
    Public Health Nutrition 05/2012; · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence for the role of food consumption during childhood in the development of β cell autoimmunity is scarce and fragmentary. We set out to study the associations of longitudinal food consumption in children with the development of advanced β cell autoimmunity. Children with advanced β cell autoimmunity (n = 232) (ie, with repeated positivity for antibodies against islet cells) together with positivity for at least one of the other 3 antibodies analyzed or clinical type 1 diabetes were identified from a prospective birth cohort of 6069 infants with HLA-DQB1-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes who were born in 1996-2004, with the longest follow-up to the age of 11 y. Repeated 3-d food records were completed by the families and daycare personnel. Diabetes-associated autoantibodies and diets were measured at 3-12-mo intervals. Four control subjects, who were matched for birth date, sex, area, and genetic risk, were randomly selected for each case. In the main food groups, only intakes of cow-milk products (OR: 1.05; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.10) and fruit and berry juices (OR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.12) were significantly, although marginally, associated with advanced β cell autoimmunity. The consumption of fresh milk products and cow milk-based infant formulas was related to the endpoint, whereas no evidence was shown for consumption of sour milk products and cheese. The intake of fat from all milk products and protein from fresh milk products was associated with risk of advanced β cell autoimmunity. Intakes of cow milk and fruit and berry juices could be related to the development of advanced β cell autoimmunity. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as number NCT00223613.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 02/2012; 95(2):471-8. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the possible association between total daily iron intake during pregnancy, haemoglobin in early pregnancy and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in women at increased risk of GDM. A prospective cohort study (based on a cluster-randomised controlled trial, where the intervention and the usual care groups were combined). Primary healthcare maternity clinics in 14 municipalities in south-western Finland. 399 Pregnant women who were at increased risk of GDM participated in a GDM prevention trial and were followed throughout pregnancy. The main outcome was GDM diagnosed with oral glucose tolerance test at 26-28 weeks' gestation or based on a diagnosis recorded in the Finnish Medical Birth registry. Data on iron intake was collected using a 181-item food frequency questionnaire and separate questions for supplement use at 26-28 weeks' gestation. GDM was diagnosed in 72 women (18.1%) in the study population. The OR for total iron intake as a continuous variable was 1.006 (95% CI 1.000 to 1.011; p=0.038) after adjustment for body mass index, age, diabetes in first-degree or second-degree relatives, GDM or macrosomia in earlier pregnancy, total energy intake, dietary fibre, saturated fatty acids and total gestational weight gain. Women in the highest fifth of total daily iron intake had an adjusted OR of 1.66 (95% CI 0.84 to 3.30; p=0.15) for GDM. After excluding participants with low haemoglobin levels (≤120 g/l) already in early pregnancy the adjusted OR was 2.35 (95% CI 1.13 to 4.92; p=0.023). Our results suggest that high iron intake during pregnancy increases the risk of GDM especially in women who are not anaemic in early pregnancy and who are at increased risk of GDM. These findings suggest that routine iron supplementation should be reconsidered in this risk group of women.
    BMJ Open 01/2012; 2(5). · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acids (FA) are known to have a number of immunological effects and, accordingly, may play a role in the development of allergic diseases. We investigated the effect of maternal intake of FA during pregnancy on the risk of allergic rhinitis, wheeze and atopic eczema in children aged 5 years. The present study analysed data from the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Nutrition Study, a population-based birth cohort study with a 5-year follow-up. Complete information on maternal diet (assessed by a validated FFQ) and International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood-based allergic outcomes was available for 2441 children. Cox proportional regression and logistic regression were used for the analyses. After adjusting for potential confounding variables, high maternal consumption of butter and butter spreads (hazard ratio (HR) 1.33; 95 % CI 1.03, 1.71) and higher ratio of n-6:n-3 FA (HR 1.37; 95 % CI 1.07, 1.77) during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of allergic rhinitis in the offspring by 5 years of age. High maternal intakes of total PUFA (HR 0.71; 95 % CI 0.52, 0.96) and α-linolenic FA (HR 0.73; 95 % CI 0.54, 0.98) were associated with a decreased risk of allergic rhinitis. However, these results lost their significance after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Overall, our data suggest that maternal consumption of butter, the ratio of n-6:n-3 FA and intake of PUFA and α-linolenic FA during pregnancy may be potential determinants of allergic rhinitis in the offspring.
    The British journal of nutrition 11/2011; 108(4):720-32. · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acid concentrations in blood are potential biomarkers of dietary fat intake, but methodological studies among children are scarce. The large number of fatty acids and their complex interrelationships pose a special challenge in research on fatty acids. Our target was to assess the interrelationships between the total fatty acid profiles in diet and serum of young children. The study subjects were healthy control children from the birth cohort of the Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Study. A 3-day food record and a frozen serum sample were available from 135 children at the age of 1 year, from 133 at 2 years, and from 92 at 3 years. The relationship between dietary and serum fatty acid profiles was analysed using canonical correlation analysis. The consumption of fatty milk correlated positively with serum fatty acids, pentadecanoic acid, palmitic acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) at all ages. Correlations between dietary and serum eicosapentaenoic and/or docosahexaenoic acid were observed at 2 and 3 years of age. Serum linoleic acid was positively associated with the consumption of infant formula at the age of 1 year, and with the consumption of vegetable margarine at 2 and 3 years. The results indicate a high quality of the 3-day food records kept by parents and other caretakers of the children, and suitability of non-fasting, un-fractioned serum samples for total fatty acid analyses. The correlation between intake of milk fat and serum proportion of CLA is a novel finding.
    Maternal and Child Nutrition 11/2011; · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To cite this article: Nwaru BI, Erkkola M, Ahonen S, Kaila M, Lumia M, Prasad M, Haapala A-Maija, Kronberg-Kippilä C, Veijola R, Ilonen J, Simell O, Knip M, Virtanen SM. Maternal diet during lactation and allergic sensitization in the offspring at age 5 years. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011; 22: 334–341.AbstractThe objective of this study was to examine the effect of maternal dietary intake during lactation on allergic sensitization at the age of 5 in children carrying HLA-DQB1-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. We analyzed data for 652 consecutively born children with complete information on maternal diet and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) measurements who are participating in the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) Nutrition and allergy study. Analysis was performed using logistic regression. In models that included the significant uncorrelated dietary variables, maternal intake of butters and saturated fatty acids was associated with increased risk, while margarine was associated with a decreased risk, of sensitization to wheat allergen in the offspring. Maternal intake of potatoes, milks, and margarine and low-fat spreads were associated with decreased risk of sensitization to birch allergen. On the other hand, intake of potatoes decreased the risk, while vitamin C and eggs increased the risk, of cat allergic sensitization. Maternal intake of butters and saturated fatty acids during lactation may increase the risk, while margarines may decrease the risk, of sensitization to wheat allergen in the offspring. Maternal intake of potatoes, milks, and margarines may decrease the risk of sensitization to birch allergen. On the other hand, intake of potatoes may decrease the risk, while vitamin C and eggs may increase the risk, of cat allergic sensitization. These effects may persist regardless of maternal or parental allergic status.
    Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 01/2011; 22(3):334 - 341. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Valid identification of childhood asthma at the population level for epidemiological purposes remains a challenge. We aimed at validating the Finnish version of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire based on parental-reported childhood asthma. The ISAAC questionnaire has been validated against anti-asthmatic medication reimbursement data of the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, being the gold standard, among 2236 5-year-old consecutively born children (1996-2004) carrying human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. Two combined questionnaire questions (any wheezing symptom or use of asthma medication during the preceding 12 months plus ever asthma; any wheezing symptom or use of asthma medication during the preceding 12 months plus ever doctor-diagnosed asthma) were validated against valid reimbursement with purchase of at least one anti-asthmatic medication during a 12-month period. The validity of the questionnaire was estimated as the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and Youden's index. The sensitivity 0.98 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.92-0.99]; specificity 0.98 (95% CI = 0.97-0.98); negative predictive value 1.00 (95% CI = 1.00-1.00); and Youden's index 0.96 (95% CI = 0.96-0.96) were the same for each of the two sets of combined questions. The positive predictive value for the first combined question was 0.63 (95% CI = 0.55-0.71), while it was 0.64 (95% CI = 0.57-0.72) for the second combined question. The Finnish ISAAC questionnaire was highly valid and is an acceptable instrument for the survey of the prevalence of parental-reported childhood asthma for epidemiological purposes.
    The Clinical Respiratory Journal 09/2010; 5(4):211-8. · 1.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Valid identification of childhood asthma at the population level for epidemiological purposes remains a challenge. We aimed at validating the Finnish version of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire based on parental-reported childhood asthma. Materials and Methods: The ISAAC questionnaire has been validated against anti-asthmatic medication reimbursement data of the Finnish Social Insurance Institu-tion, being the gold standard, among 2236 5-year-old consecutively born children (1996–2004) carrying human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. Two combined questionnaire questions (any wheezing symptom or use of asthma medication during the preceding 12 months plus ever asthma; any wheezing symptom or use of asthma medication during the preceding 12 months plus ever doctor-diagnosed asthma) were validated against valid reimbursement with purchase of at least one anti-asthmatic medication during a 12-month period. The validity of the questionnaire was estimated as the sensitivity, specificity, posi-tive predictive value, negative predictive value, and Youden's index. Results: The sensitivity 0.98 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.92–0.99]; specificity 0.98 (95% CI = 0.97–0.98); negative predictive value 1.00 (95% CI = 1.00–1.00); and Youden's index 0.96 (95% CI = 0.96–0.96) were the same for each of the two sets of combined questions. The positive predictive value for the first combined question was 0.63 (95% CI = 0.55–0.71), while it was 0.64 (95% CI = 0.57–0.72) for the second combined question. Conclusion: The Finnish ISAAC questionnaire was highly valid and is an acceptable instrument for the survey of the prevalence of parental-reported childhood asthma for epidemiological purposes.
    The Clinical Respiratory Journal 09/2010; · 1.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goal was to examine the relationship between age at the introduction of solid foods during the first year of life and allergic sensitization in 5-year-old children. We analyzed data from the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention nutrition study, a prospective, birth cohort study. We studied 994 children with HLA-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes mellitus for whom information on breastfeeding, age at the introduction of solid foods, and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E levels at 5 years was available. The association between age at the introduction of solid foods and allergic sensitization was analyzed by using logistic regression. The median duration of exclusive breastfeeding was 1.8 months (range: 0-10 months). After adjustment for potential confounders, late introduction of potatoes (>4 months), oats (>5 months), rye (>7 months), wheat (>6 months), meat (>5.5 months), fish (>8.2 months), and eggs (>10.5 months) was significantly directly associated with sensitization to food allergens. Late introduction of potatoes, rye, meat, and fish was significantly associated with sensitization to any inhalant allergen. In models that included all solid foods that were significantly related to the end points, eggs, oats, and wheat remained the most important foods related to sensitization to food allergens, whereas potatoes and fish were the most important foods associated with inhalant allergic sensitization. We found no evidence of reverse causality, taking into account parental allergic rhinitis and asthma. Late introduction of solid foods was associated with increased risk of allergic sensitization to food and inhalant allergens.
    PEDIATRICS 12/2009; 125(1):50-9. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the effect of maternal diet during pregnancy on allergic sensitization in the offspring by 5 yrs of age. The Finnish type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Nutrition Study. A population-based cohort study with 5-yr follow-up. A total of 931 children with human leukocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes for whom maternal pregnancy food frequency questionnaire data and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E measurement at 5 yrs were available. Increasing maternal consumption of citrus fruits [odds ratio (OR) = 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-1.25] and total fruit (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.09-1.70) were positively associated with sensitization to inhalant allergens, after adjustment for potential confounders. Maternal intake of vitamin D (OR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.35-0.91) was inversely associated with sensitization to food allergens. Maternal consumption of citrus fruits during pregnancy may increase the risk to allergic sensitization in the offspring, whereas vitamin D intake may have a beneficial effect. Further studies are required to define more closely the putative effect of maternal intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids on development of allergic diseases in the offspring.
    Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 12/2009; 21(1 Pt 1):29-37. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess milk feeding on the maternity ward and during infancy, and their relationship to sociodemographic determinants. The validity of our 3-month questionnaire in measuring hospital feeding was assessed. A prospective Finnish birth cohort with increased risk to type 1 diabetes recruited between 1996 and 2004. The families completed a follow-up form on the age at introduction of new foods and age-specific dietary questionnaires. Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) project, Finland. A cohort of 5993 children (77 % of those invited) participated in the main study, and 117 randomly selected infants in the validation study. Breast milk was the predominant milk on the maternity ward given to 99 % of the infants. Altogether, 80 % of the women recalled their child being fed supplementary milk (donated breast milk or infant formula) on the maternity ward. The median duration of exclusive breast-feeding was 1.4 months (range 0-8) and that of total breast-feeding 7.0 months (0-25). Additional milk feeding on the maternity ward, short parental education, maternal smoking during pregnancy, small gestational age and having no siblings were associated with a risk of short duration of both exclusive and total breast-feeding. In the validation study, 78 % of the milk types given on the maternity ward fell into the same category, according to the questionnaire and hospital records. The recommendations for infant feeding were not achieved. Infant feeding is strongly influenced by sociodemographic determinants and feeding practices on the maternity wards. Long-term breast-feeding may be supported by active promotion on the maternity ward.
    Public Health Nutrition 10/2009; 13(4):504-13. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To analyse the associations of selected sociodemographic and lifestyle factors with the intake of antioxidant nutrients and consumption of their main dietary sources among pregnant women. A population-based cohort study. Dietary intake during pregnancy was assessed by a self-administered FFQ one to three months after the delivery. Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) Project. Subjects comprised 3730 women (70.1 % of those invited) who entered the DIPP Nutrition Study after delivering a child at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes at the university hospitals in Oulu and Tampere, Finland, 1997-2002. All sociodemographic and lifestyle factors studied showed significant associations with antioxidant intake in multiple regression models adjusting for all other factors. Older and more educated women tended to have higher intake of most antioxidants. Parity was positively associated with retinol intake and inversely with vitamin C intake. Smokers had lower intakes of most antioxidants. Only the partner's education was positively associated with high intake of fruits, whereas own education was positively associated with berry consumption. Vegetable consumption was positively associated with partner's education except for women with academic education, who tended to have high vegetable consumption irrespective of partner's education. Young women, smokers and those with a low education are at risk for low antioxidant intake and non-optimal food choices during pregnancy.
    Public Health Nutrition 09/2008; 11(12):1379-88. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to investigate the frequency of the use of vitamin D and other dietary supplements by Finnish children at the age of 2 and 3 years, to evaluate daily nutrient intake from supplements, and to investigate the relation between supplement use and various sociodemographic factors. The families of 534 newborn infants were invited to a birth cohort study in 1996-1997. Families of 292 children at the child's age of 2 years and families of 263 children at the age of 3 years completed a three-day food record from which the daily use of dietary supplements was calculated. The frequency of dietary supplement use was 50% among the two-year-olds, and 37% among the three-year-old children. The most commonly used supplements among the two-year-olds were vitamin D or vitamin A + D combination (38%) and fluoride (16%) and among the three-year-olds fluoride (19%) and multivitamins (16%), respectively. Intake of nutrients other than vitamin D or fluoride from supplements was rare among two-year-olds, whereas 16% of the three-year-olds received also vitamin A, C, E, and several group B vitamins. Mean daily intake of vitamin D from supplements was 6.7 micrograms at the age of 2 years and 5.3 micrograms at the age of 3 years, respectively. The level of parental education was positively associated with the child's vitamin D supplementation at the age of 2 years. As the compliance with national recommendations of vitamin D supplementation was low, intensified counseling of the parents is needed at the well-baby clinics in Finland.
    International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 02/2004; 74(1):27-34. · 1.27 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

138 Citations
66.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • University of Tampere
      • • School of Health Sciences
      • • Department of Public Health
      Tammerfors, Province of Western Finland, Finland
  • 2009–2012
    • University of Helsinki
      • • Department of Food and Environmental Sciences
      • • Department of Nutrition
      Helsinki, Province of Southern Finland, Finland