Abstract P211: Diet Quality Declines and Differs by Race in Early Childhood
Introduction: Diet quality is an important determinant of health in children, but little is known about how diet quality progresses during early childhood. We hypothesized that overall diet quality, assessed by the 2010 Healthy Eating Index, would decline during early childhood.
Methods: Three hundred seventy-two (372) healthy 3-year-old children were recruited from the Greater Cincinnati area and assessed every 4 months until age 7 at in-person clinical visits, for a total of 13 visits. Parents completed 3-day diet diaries at each visit which were analyzed for nutrient composition using the Nutrition Data Systems for Research system (NDSR). The 2010 Healthy Eating Index (HEI) total and food-group component scores were calculated and averaged by year of study. Longitudinal mixed modeling was used to evaluate longitudinal trends.
Results: The population was 52% (195/372) male, 78% (290/372) white and 83% (308/372) completed the final visit. HEI total scores at age 3 were poor (mean±SE: 45.2±0.4) and declined significantly between ages 3-7 (p<0.0001). None of the participants had “good” quality diet (HEI>80) at any point in the study. HEI total scores differed by race, with white children having significantly higher scores (p=0.05, Figure). HEI component scores showed a mixed pattern, with some significantly improving (protein, vegetables and fatty acids), some significantly worsening (dairy, refined grains, sodium, whole fruit and total fruit); other component scores did not change. Differences by race also varied, with African-Americans having consistently better scores for vegetables, greens and beans, protein and fatty acids (all p<0.0001), while white children had better scores for dairy, sodium and refined grains (all p<0.0005).
Conclusions: The average HEI scores for young children showed poor baseline diet quality at age 3 that became gradually worse throughout early childhood. The varying patterns in HEI component scores indicate specific areas of focus for early dietary intervention, which may differ by race.
Author Disclosures: K. Reynolds: None. H. Kalkwarf: None. S. Summer: None. P. Khoury: None. M. Gavin: None. J.G. Woo: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.