Background: 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.
Objective: 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.
Design: 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.
Results: 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).
Conclusion: 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.