Objective: To describe dietary intake among a large cohort of youth with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and to compare their intake with current nutrition recommendations.
Design: SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth is a multicenter study of diabetes in youth. Diet was assessed among youth aged 10 to 22 years who attended a SEARCH research clinic visit and completed a previous-week food frequency questionnaire that included foods to reflect the ethnic and regional diversity represented by the cohort.
Subjects/setting: Included were 1,697 youth with physician-diagnosed diabetes mellitus (89% type 1 diabetes, 11% type 2 diabetes), with diabetes mellitus duration of at least 12 months.
Statistical analyses: Descriptive data and comparisons with nutrition recommendations were unadjusted. Analyses of covariance with adjustment for total energy, clinic site, sex, race/ethnicity, age, and parental education were used to compare intake according to diabetes type.
Results: Percent of energy from total fat was consistent at 37% to 38% across subgroups of age (10 to 14 years, >15 years) and diabetes type (ie, type 1 or type 2). Youth with type 2 diabetes consumed less calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E than youth with type 1 diabetes (P<0.01 for each). Intake of sweetened carbonated beverages among older (aged >15 years) youth with type 2 diabetes was twice that of older youth with type 1 diabetes (P<0.01). Only 6.5% of the cohort met American Diabetes Association recommendations of <10% of energy from saturated fat. Less than 50% met recommendations for total fat, vitamin E, fiber, fruits, vegetables, and grains, although a majority met recommendations for vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Conclusions: Overall, dietary intake in this large cohort of youth with diabetes substantially failed to meet current recommendations. There is a critical need for improvement in dietary intake in youth with diabetes.