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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Aug;92(2):294-303. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28925. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

Dietary patterns associated with fat and bone mass in young children.

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Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.



Obesity and osteoporosis have origins in childhood, and both are affected by dietary intake and physical activity. However, there is little information on what constitutes a diet that simultaneously promotes low fat mass and high bone mass accrual early in life.


Our objective was to identify dietary patterns related to fat and bone mass in children during the age period of 3.8-7.8 y.


A total of 325 children contributed data from 13 visits over 4 separate study years (age ranges: 3.8-4.8, >4.8-5.8, >5.8-6.8, and >6.8-7.8 y). We performed reduced-rank regression to identify dietary patterns related to fat mass and bone mass measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for each study year. Covariables included race, sex, height, weight, energy intake, calcium intake, physical activity measured by accelerometry, and time spent viewing television and playing outdoors.


A dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables was related to low fat mass and high bone mass; high processed-meat intake was related to high bone mass; and high fried-food intake was related to high fat mass. Dietary pattern scores remained related to fat mass and bone mass after all covariables were controlled for (P < 0.001-0.03).


Beginning at preschool age, diets rich in dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables and low in fried foods may lead to healthy fat and bone mass accrual in young children.

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