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Association between hair cortisol concentration and dietary intake among normal weight preschool children predisposed to overweight and obesity

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BACKGROUND: The association between chronically elevated cortisol, as measured by hair cortisol concentration (HCC), and dietary intake among children has generally not been explored. Moreover, it is unknown whether there is an association between parental HCC and dietary intake among their children.

OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between HCC and dietary intake among children, and to explore the association between parental HCC and dietary intake among their children.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study based on 296 children predisposed to overweight and obesity who participated in the Healthy Start study. Multiple Linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between HCC and total energy intake, macronutrients, fruit and vegetables, added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), and a diet quality index (DQI).

RESULTS: Among the children, we found that higher HCC was associated with a lower consumption of dietary fat (β: -0.7 g/day [95% CI: -1.3, -0.0] per 100 pg/mg HCC). We found no statistically significant association between HCC and intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetables, added sugar, SSB or DQI. We found no association between parental HCC and intake of total energy, added sugar, selected food groups or DQI among their children. However, stratified analyses showed that paternal HCC was associated with a borderline significant lower total energy intake and significantly lower protein intake, but only among daughters (adjusted β: -42 kcal/day [95% CI: -85, 0] and -2.6 g/day [95% CI: -4.4, -0.8] per 100 pg/mg HCC, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Among children, chronic stress as measured by HCC may be associated with a lower fat consumption, and paternal HCC may be associated with a lower intake of energy and protein among their daughters. However, the associations observed were weak, and any clinical relevance of these findings remains questionable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)e0213573
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 57027936