Epidemiological studies examining potential associations between dried fruit consumption, diet quality, and weight status are lacking. The goal of this study was to examine the association of dried fruit consumption with nutrient intake, diet quality, and anthropometric indicators of overweight/obesity. A secondary analysis of dietary and anthropometric data collected from adult (19+ years) participants (n = 13 292) of the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was conducted. Dried fruit consumers were defined as those consuming amounts ⅛ cup-equivalent fruit per day or more and identified using 24-hour recalls. Diet quality was measured using the Healthy Eating Index 2005. Covariate-adjusted means, SEs, prevalence rates, and odds ratios were determined to conduct statistical tests for differences between dried fruit consumers and nonconsumers. Seven percent of the population consumed dried fruit. Mean differences (P < .01) between consumers and nonconsumers in adult shortfall nutrients were dietary fiber (+6.6 g/d); vitamins A (+173 μg retinol activity equivalent per day), E (+1.5 mg α-tocopherol per day), C (+20 mg/d), and K (+20 mg/d); calcium (+103 mg/d); phosphorus (+126 mg/d); magnesium (+72 mg/d); and potassium (+432 mg/d). Dried fruit consumers had improved MyPyramid food intake, including lower solid fats/alcohol/added sugars intake, and a higher solid fats/alcohol/added sugars score (11.1 ± 0.2 vs 8.2 ± 0.1) than nonconsumers. The total Healthy Eating Index 2005 score was significantly higher (P < .01) in consumers (59.3 ± 0.5) than nonconsumers (49.4 ± 0.3). Covariate-adjusted weight (78.2 ± 0.6 vs 80.7 ± 0.3 kg), body mass index (27.1 ± 0.2 vs 28.1 ± 0.2), and waist circumference (94.0 ± 0.5 vs 96.5 ± 0.2 cm) were lower (P < .01) in consumers than nonconsumers, respectively. Dried fruit consumption was associated with improved nutrient intakes, a higher overall diet quality score, and lower body weight/adiposity measures.
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