Dietary patterns associated with fat and bone mass in young children

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Aug;92(2):294-303. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28925. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Bone Density*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cooking
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Female
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Meat*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Vegetables*


  • Dietary Fats