One-fifth of children and adolescents have an abnormal serum cholesterol measure. Diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and saturated fat reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
The purpose of this study is to determine if greater home access to fruits, vegetables, and snacks is associated with cardiac dietary heath at home and Early Care and Education (ECE) centers in preschool-age children and also to determine if there is a difference in children's cardiac dietary health between home and ECE.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
This cross-sectional study involved children (3-5 years old, n = 88) and their primary caregivers from 15 licensed ECEs across Oklahoma. Parents reported home food access using the Healthy Home Survey and child's home dinner intake using the 3-Dinner Dietary Recall. Child ECE lunch consumption was recorded using the Dietary Observation for Child Care. The cardiac dietary score was composed of 6 variables, each with a single point to be summed: consumption of fish, fruits, vegetables, fiber, and limited sodium and sugary drinks.
Outcome variables were analyzed by using means, standard deviations, median, and frequencies. Adjusted linear regression analyses examined the relationship between home food access and cardiac dietary scores at home and ECE.
At home, total fruit and vegetable (16.2 ± 6.3) outnumbered snacks (5.5 ± 3.0) with mean ratio of total home fruits and vegetables to snacks at 3.8 ± 2.7. There was no difference in cardiac dietary score between ECE (1.50 ± 0.8) and home (1.27 ± 0.9, P = 0.0851). Children within both environments did not meet intake recommendations for most variables (vegetables [18.2-23.9%], fruit [5.7-10.2%], fish [4.5-10.2%], fiber [1.1%], sodium [21.6-38.6%]). There was no relationship between home food access variables and cardiac dietary scores at home or ECE.
The cardiac dietary health of children at home and ECE does not meet recommendations. Interventions might consider the ECE setting to promote healthy eating among children and educate families on healthy eating at home.
Appendix. Supplementary data
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