Research Article| Volume 52, ISSUE 10, P928-934, October 2020

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Changes in Diet Quality in Youth Living in South Carolina From Fifth to 11th Grade

Published:April 23, 2020DOI:



      To examine diet quality levels and changes in a diverse sample of youth from fifth to 11th grade, and interactions by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.


      Transitions and Activity Changes in Kids prospective cohort study.


      Elementary, middle, and high schools in South Carolina.


      A sample of 260 fifth-graders (106 boys and 154 girls) with complete data at baseline and at least 1 time point each in middle school and in high school.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Dietary intake assessed with the Block Food Screener for Kids (last week). Diet quality was assessed using energy-adjusted intakes of 5 food groups.


      Descriptive statistics and growth curve models for the total group and by gender for diet quality from fifth to 11th grade (P < 0.05).


      Both boys and girls had low levels of diet quality, which continued to decline through 11th grade. Significant main effects by race and poverty as well as a race by poverty interaction were observed.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Programs and policies that support healthy dietary patterns in children transitioning from elementary to middle and high school are needed. Specific efforts that focus on nutrition disparities in children from low-income and minority backgrounds are warranted.

      Key Words

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