Diet Quality and Fruit, Vegetable, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption by Household Food Insecurity among 8- to 12-Year-Old Children during Summer Months

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Background: School-delivered nutrition assistance programs have improved dietary intake for children from food-insecure households during the school year. However, little is known about their diet quality and eating patterns during summer months. Objective: School-aged children's summer month weekday and weekend day diet quality and eating patterns were assessed by household food insecurity. Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data was employed. Participants/setting: During the summers of 2011 through 2017, baseline data were collected from parent–child dyads participating in one of two community-based obesity prevention trials in metropolitan Minnesota (N=218). The mean age of children was 10 years; 50% were girls, 49% were nonwhite, and 25% were from food-insecure households. Main outcome measures: Children from food-secure and food-insecure households were identified by using the short form of the US Household Food Security Survey. Healthy Eating Index 2015 and eating patterns—including energy intake and consumption of whole fruits, vegetables, 100% fruit/vegetable juice, and sugar-sweetened beverages—were estimated by means of 24-hour dietary recall interviews conducted on weekdays and weekend days. Statistical analysis performed: General linear modeling was used to examine diet quality and eating patterns by food insecurity, controlling for child age, child body mass index z score, and parent education. Results: Children from food-insecure and food-secure households had Healthy Eating Index 2015 scores less than 50. Children from food-insecure households reported less energy intake, fewer cups of whole fruit, and more sugar-sweetened beverage consumption for every 1,000 kcal consumed on a weekend day when compared with their counterparts from food-secure households (P<0.05). Similar results were not seen for weekday eating patterns. Conclusions: Whole fruit and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption varied by food insecurity on weekend days during summer months. Because children tend to gain weight during summer months, efforts to increase weekend access to whole fruits and promote water consumption may contribute to weight gain prevention and healthy development, especially for children from food-insecure households.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1695-1702
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases under Award Number R01DK08400 (J. A. Fulkerson, PI, the HOME Plus study) and the National Institute of Nursing Research under Award Number R01NR013473 (M. Y. Kubik, PI, the SNAPSHOT study) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


  • 24-Hour dietary recall interviews
  • Food insecurity
  • Health equity
  • Nutrition assistance programs
  • Summer months


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