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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Houston, Texas

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Determine environmental factors and eating pattern typologies associated with obesity and related diseases in children, adolescents, and young adults using extant datasets. Sub-objective 1.A. Examine the impact of dietary calcium intake and dairy product consumption on weight status in a multi-ethnic, low-income population. Sub-objective 1.B. Determine the impact of breakfast and ready-to-eat cereal (RTEC) on nutrient intake and weight status. Sub-objective 1.C. Determine the impact of snack consumption on nutrient intake and weight status. Sub-objective 1.D. Identify psychosocial factors influencing children’s eating patterns and weight status. Sub-objective 1.E. Evaluate mealtime intake of children as a function of portion size, and evaluate caregiver characteristics related to children's portion sizes.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
These objectives will be accomplished through secondary data analyses on currently existing datasets. Children's Nutrition Research Center researchers will conduct various analyses in a sequential timeline, resulting in scientific publications and presentations. Scientists will use a multitude of statistical programs (e.g., SAS, SPSS, SUDAAN) to conduct the secondary data analyses. A variety of analytical methods will be used depending on the specific objective (e.g., descriptive statistics; regression analyses; sample-weighted least square means; generalized linear models; and mixed effects models), and adjustments to the analytical methods will be made as appropriate for family support, parental perceptions and concerns about child weight, parental BMI, and child temperament. Additionally we plan to use population-averaged models using generalized estimating equations (GEE) to account for possible clustering effects.

3. Progress Report
In FY2011, we conducted continuous data analysis using data from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey administered by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sophisticated statistical approaches were used to address hypotheses specific to differential serving size selection and food consumption among low-income preschool children. Two manuscripts pertaining to this work are under review in peer-reviewed biomedical journals. The ADODR monitors project activities by visits, review of purchases of equipment, review of ARS-funded foreign travel, and review of ARS funds provided through the SCA.

4. Accomplishments
1. Serving size selection and food consumption patterns of preschool children. The variation and influence of portion size on food intake of preschool children has not been previously well described. Children's Nutrition Research Center researchers conducted a study to examine the variability in portions served and consumed by preschoolers in Head Start centers in Houston, TX, during the lunch meals. Our research showed that heavier children were more likely to consume larger amounts of food than leaner children. Plate waste and variation in the amounts of foods served and consumed were substantial; amounts served were associated with amounts consumed. These findings further supplement the general belief that increased portion size served equates to a greater portion consumed by the child.

2. Characterizing dinner meals served and consumed by low-income preschool children. Large portion sizes may contribute to the high prevalence of overweight among children by promoting excessive intake at meals. Children's Nutrition Research Center researchers conducted a study to characterize the family dinner meal of preschool children attending Head Start by measuring types and amounts of foods served. We found that plate waste was high, with 30% of the foods served to the child at the dinner meal not being consumed. The proportion of preschool children served a major food group at the dinner meal varied considerably among the children (44% fruit/juice; 97% vegetables; 99% grains; 97% meats; 74% dairy, and 40% sweets and sugars). Sixty-six percent were served sweetened beverages, and only 42% were served milk at the dinner meal. More studies are needed to look at the impact of the amount and type of food consumed at the dinner meal on overall dietary quality and nutrient adequacy over a 24-hour period.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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