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To evaluate the impact of nutrition education promoting lower dietary fat on the overall diet quality in children using a multidimensional index that measures nutrient and food intakes in relation to US dietary recommendations.
Prospective cohort study with two intervention and two control groups. Children with elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were randomized to one of two intervention groups or an at-risk control group. The intervention children received either the parent–child autotutorial (PCAT) programme, a 10-week home-based self-instruction nutrition education programme, or nutrition counselling from a registered dietitian. Children with non-elevated plasma cholesterol formed the not-at-risk control group. Dietary and blood data were collected at baseline and at 3 months.
Paediatric practices in suburbs north of Philadelphia, PA.
Two hundred and twenty-seven 4–10-year-old children with elevated LDL cholesterol between the 80th and 98th percentiles, and 76 age- and gender-matched children with non-elevated plasma cholesterol, were studied.
Children who received PCAT or counselling significantly improved their overall diet quality (−0.6 and −0.4 change in diet quality index (DQI) scores) compared with at-risk control children. Children who received either form of nutrition education were more likely to meet the recommendations for three components of the DQI (total fat, saturated fat, sodium) (OR <1.7), but did not improve their intakes of three components of the DQI (vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates, calcium) at 3 months.
Nutrition education promoting lower dietary fat improved children's overall diet quality. However, several dietary behaviours important for long-term health remained unchanged.
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