Objective: This study examined the dietary intake, dietary adherence, and associated daily glycemic control of young children (mean age 5.6+/-1.6 years) with type 1 diabetes in 33 families.
Design: This was a one-sample cross-sectional study. Children's nutrient and energy intakes were measured using 3-day diet diaries. Children's mean daily blood glucose levels were assessed prospectively for 2 weeks using the FreeStyle (TheraSense, Inc, Alameda, CA) home blood glucose meter.
Statistical analysis: Means, standard deviations, and frequencies described the sample. Associations between dietary adherence and glycemic control were examined by one-tailed Pearson correlations.
Results: Mean nutrient intakes were less than the Dietary Reference Intake for children's intake of vitamin B-12 and calcium. Children's dietary deviations revealed better-than-predicted adherence to the number and timing of feedings per day and number of carbohydrate units consumed per meal. In contrast, children's daily carbohydrate intake was approximately 80%+/-21% of the recommended levels based on their weight and age. In addition, children's energy intake was only 78%+/-18% of the recommended levels based on age. Correlations revealed a positive association between poor dietary adherence and higher blood glucose levels.
Conclusions: Young children with type 1 diabetes are likely to have adequate dietary intake of most micronutrients. However, their adherence to specific carbohydrate and energy intake recommendations may be lower. Because the preschool years represent a period of rapid growth, diet plans for preschoolers with diabetes need to be revised often for optimal management of type 1 diabetes. Close adherence to dietary recommendations is one behavior that may improve blood glucose control in young children with diabetes.