Quality of prenatal and childhood diet predicts neurodevelopmental outcomes among children in Mexico city

Ashley J. Malin, Stefanie A. Busgang, Alejandra J. Cantoral, Katherine Svensson, Manuela A. Orjuela, Ivan Pantic, Lourdes Schnaas, Emily Oken, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Martha M. Téllez-Rojo, Robert O. Wright, Chris Gennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Adequate nutrition is important for neurodevelopment. Although nutrients are ingested in combination, the impact of specific nutrients within the context of a nutrient mixture has not been studied with respect to health, such as neurodevelopment. Therefore, we examined the impact of prenatal and childhood nutrient mixtures on neurodevelopmental outcomes. Participants included mother–child pairs in the Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment, and Social Stress (PROGRESS) prospective birth cohort in Mexico City. We assessed prenatal and child micro-and macronutrient profiles among 65 and 329 children, respectively, via food frequency questionnaires. Neurodevelopmental outcomes of 4–6-year-old children were measured using the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities (MSCA). We conducted weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression analyses to calculate indices reflecting “good” and “poor” prenatal and childhood nutrition. After adjusting for maternal education, socioeconomic status, the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) score, and total caloric intake, the good prenatal and childhood nutrition indices predicted more favorable neurodevelopment, while both poor nutrition indices predicted poorer neurodevelopment. These associations were stronger in prenatal than childhood models. Monounsaturated fats predicted various neurodevelopmental abilities relatively strongly in both models. Prenatal and childhood consumption of combinations of beneficial nutrients may contribute to more favorable neurodevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1093
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Nutrient mixtures
  • Nutrition


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