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Am J Prev Med. 2003 Jul;25(1):9-16.

Eating patterns and obesity in children. The Bogalusa Heart Study.

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Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Childhood obesity is a growing public health problem. This study examined the association between eating patterns and overweight status in children who participated in the Bogalusa Heart Study.


A single 24-hour dietary recall was collected on a cross-sectional sample of 1562 children aged 10 years (65% Euro-American [EA], 35% African American [AA]) over a 21-year period. Overweight was defined as body mass index greater than the 85th percentile using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reference standards. Multivariate logistic regression was used to investigate the association between eating patterns and overweight.


Consumption of sweetened beverages (58% soft drinks, 20% fruit flavor drinks, 19% tea, and 3% coffee) (p<0.001); sweets (desserts, candy, and sweetened beverages) (p<0.001); meats (mixed meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, pork, and beef) (p<0.051); and total consumption of low-quality foods (p<0.01) were positively associated with overweight status. Total amount of food consumed, specifically from snacks, was positively associated with overweight status (p<0.05). There was a lack of congruency in the types of eating patterns associated with overweight status across four ethnic-gender groups. The percent variance explained from the eating pattern-overweight models was very small. The interaction of ethnicity and gender was significantly associated with overweight status (p<0.001). The odds of being overweight for EA males were 1.2 times higher than for AA females.


These results demonstrate that numerous eating patterns were associated with overweight status, yet the odds of being overweight were very small. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings in a longitudinal sample having multiple days of assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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