Characterization of dietary patterns in the Danish national birth cohort in relation to preterm birth

Morten Arendt Rasmussen, Ekaterina Maslova, Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson, Sjurdur F. Olsen

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56 Citations (Scopus)
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Dietary patterns better reflect eating habits as opposed to single dietary components. However, the use of dietary pattern analysis in nutritional epidemiology has been hampered by the complexity of interpreting and presenting multidimensional dietary data.


This study extracts and visualizes dietary patterns from self-reported dietary data collected in mid-pregnancy (25th week of gestation) from nearly 60,000 mother-child pairs part of a prospective, longitudinal cohort (Danish National Birth Cohort) and further examines their associations with spontaneous and induced preterm birth (gestational age

A total of seven dietary patterns were extracted by principal component analysis, characterized and visualized by color-coded spider plots, and referred to as: Vegetables/Prudent, Alcohol, Western, Nordic, Seafood, Candy and Rice/Pasta/Poultry. A consistent dose-response association with preterm birth was only observed for Western diet with an odds ratio of 1.30 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.49) comparing the highest to the lowest quintile. This association was primarily driven by induced preterm deliveries (odds ratio = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.30, 2.11, comparing the highest to the lowest quintile) while the corresponding odds ratio for spontaneous preterm deliveries was more modest (odds ratio = 1.18, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.39). All based on adjusted analyses.


In conclusion, this study presented a simple and novel framework for visualizing correlation structures between overall consumption of foods group and their relation to nutrient intake and maternal characteristics. Our results suggest that Western-type diet, high in meat and fats and low in fruits and vegetables, is associated with increased odds of induced preterm birth.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere93644
Number of pages9
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2014


  • diet
  • preterm birth
  • food
  • pregnancy
  • nutrients
  • Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
  • Cohort studies
  • preeclampsia


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