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In the Arch Dis Child supplement I of this year (published in April), the following abstract was not published. It should have replaced abstract G24.

Meat consumption during weaning is positively associated with psychomotor outcome in children under 22 months of age. J.B. Morgan1, A. Taylor1, M.S. Fewtrell2.

1 School of Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Surrey, Guilford GU2 7XH, UK; 2MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH

Aims: The impact of specific weaning foods on later health outcomes has been poorly studied. We aimed to determine if meat consumption and milk feeding patterns influence neuro-cognitive outcome and growth in infants under 24 months of age.

Methods: In a longitudinal cohort study, 144 full term infants (breast and formula fed) were recruited at four months. Their red and white meat consumption was recorded in sequential seven day diet diaries at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 months. Neuro-cognitive outcome (psychomotor developmental indices, PDI, and mental developmental indices, MDI) derived from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II was measured at 22 months. Growth data were collected at the same census points as the dietary data.

Results: Meat intake from 4–12 and 4–16 months was positively and significantly related to PDI (p<0.02 and 0.013, respectively) but there was no association between milk feeding and PDI, nor any interaction between meat intake and milk feeding. Conversely, breastfeeding was positively and significantly related to MDI (p<0.01) but there was no association between meat intake and MDI, nor any interaction between milk feeding and meat intake. These findings remained after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Meat intake from 4–12 months was positively and significantly related to weight gain (p<0.05); further analysis suggested this association was mediated via protein intake. There was no interaction between meat intake and milk feeding on growth.

Conclusion: Meat in the weaning diet may positively influence psychomotor development at 22 months, possibly due to an effect of specific nutrients such as iron or long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Meat intake, via its effect on protein intake, is also associated with increased weight gain up to 12 months. These findings highlight the need for further investigation of the weaning diet in relation to health outcomes.

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