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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Houston, Texas

2012 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:
Research milestones included 15 peer reviewed publications; 3 of which were related to my CRIS project and are summarized under significant accomplishments. One of the publications was based on an international symposium (Kronberg, Germany: November 11, 2011) on nutrition issues related to health claims and nutrient reference values. Another was a summary of a roundtable discussion among leading nutrition researchers on challenges and realistic solutions for translating fiber guidance into practical advice for obtaining fiber from a variety of sources. This publication was followed by another study that showed that adding additional dietary fiber to existing grain-based foods may be a reasonable approach to getting more dietary fiber, without increased caloric intake, in the American diet. Several of the published studies reported secondary analyses using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. These studies showed that consumption of specific foods (i.e. nuts, cereals, and beef) improved nutrient intake and diet quality, and they were not adversely related to health risk markers. Another study showed positive correlations between mother-child unit intakes of snacks, sweets, fruits, and vegetables. Data showed the importance of providing mothers the guidance needed to encourage them to consume nutrient dense snacks and fruits and vegetables so they can model healthier food consumption behavior for their children. Another study examined the dietary, lifestyle, and health correlates of overweight and obesity in adults 19-39 years of age using the Bogalusa Heart Study database. Significant positive associations were found between overweight and obesity and cardiovascular risk factors and type 2 diabetes. The overweight and obese adults had poor dietary and physical activity habits. Thus, interventions are needed to improve dietary and physical activity lifestyles among overweight and obese adults in an effort to prevent adverse health outcomes.

4. Accomplishments
1. Nutrient intake and diet quality in child breakfast patterns. Breakfast consumers have better nutrient intake and diet quality than breakfast skippers; however, a description of specific breakfast meals is lacking. Researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, conducted a study to identify breakfast patterns and to determine the nutrient contribution and diet quality associated with these breakfast patterns. Twelve breakfast patterns (including No Breakfast) were identified, and they varied in contribution to daily intake of nutrients and diet quality. Patterns varied in their association with over-consumed nutrients; Eggs/Grain/Meat, Poultry, Fish /Fruit Juice and Meat, Poultry, Fish/Grain/Fruit Juice patterns were noteworthy as the only patterns showing higher intakes of saturated fatty acids, solid fats, cholesterol, and sodium and lower intakes of added sugars than No Breakfast; and most patterns showed higher intakes of at least some nutrients of public health concern (i.e. dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, potassium); however, Grain and Meat, Poultry, Fish /Grain/Fruit Juice did not. Grain/Low Fat Milk/Sweets/Fruit Juice, Presweetened Ready-to-eat Cereal/Low Fat Milk, Ready-to-eat Cereal / Low Fat Milk, Cooked Cereal/Milk/Fruit Juice, and Whole Fruit had higher HEI-2005 scores than No Breakfast, whereas, Meat, Poultry, Fish/Grain/Fruit Juice was lower. Breakfast is an important meal, but care should be taken to select nutrient dense foods, such low fat milk, fortified cereals and other healthy grains, fruit/fruit juice, and lean meat at this meal.

2. Snacking patterns, diet quality and risk of overweight in children. Snacking is very common among Americans, but the impact of the variety of snacking patterns on nutrient intake and weight status is unclear. Researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, conducted a study to examine the associations of snacking patterns on nutrient intake and weight in children 2-18 years of age. Most of the snacking patterns resulted in higher total intake of saturated fatty acids, solid fats, added sugars, and sodium (nutrients to limit). Overall, children with several snacking patterns had better diet quality and were less likely to be overweight or obese and were less likely to have abdominal obesity when compared with non-snackers. Education is needed to improve snacking patterns in terms of nutrients to limit in the diet.

3. Resemblance of mother-child dyads at the dinner meal. Parents' eating habits are associated with food and nutrient intake of their children; yet, the associations have not been very strong. Researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, conducted a study to examine resemblance in intakes of foods, within the context of a meal, among mother-child dyads (a group/pair) from families of limited incomes. Mothers and children who were served larger amounts of total food/beverages consumed more. There was a positive association between the amount of total energy consumed in the mother-child dyads. Manipulating portion sizes may be an important strategy that can be used by parents to promote intake of fruits and vegetables and to decrease intake of energy-dense foods.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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