Relationships Between Dietary Intake and Body Mass Index of Primarily Low-Income, African American Children and Their Female Caregivers Living in Rural Alabama
Type of DegreeThesis
DepartmentNutrition and Food Science
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Body mass and dietary intake relationships were examined between 110 primarily African American children and their caregivers from three rural counties (Bullock, Macon, and Wilcox) in Alabama. Children were 9 to 13 years of age and included 76 girls and 34 boys; 108 children were African American and two were Caucasian. Children attended schools in which over about 90% of the school children received free or reduced price lunch. Caregivers were female with an age range from 17 to 93 years. The prevalence of overweight among the children was 37.1% and when children at risk of overweight were included, the prevalence was 57.1%. The prevalence of obesity among the female caregivers was 68.6%. Significant positive correlations were found between caregivers and boys for intakes of energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin A. No significant correlations were found between caregivers and girls for any nutrient intakes. Significant correlations were found for intakes of fruit, vegetables, and meat between the caregivers and the boys. No correlations were found between caregiver and girls for any of the food groups. No significant correlation was found between the caregivers’ BMI and the boys’ BMI. A significant positive correlation was found between the caregivers’ BMI and the girls’ BMI. No significant correlation was found between the boys’ BMI and the boys’ energy or macronutrient intakes. A significant correlation was found between the girls’ BMI and the girls’ intake of energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber. These findings suggest that in this population group, caregivers influence, although only to a minor extent, the dietary intakes of fourth and fifth grade boys. The influence appears to be the greatest for intakes of protein, iron, and vitamin B6 and consumption of foods from the meat, fish, and poultry group.