Aim: Early-onset diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study examined the eating habits of children under 7 years of age with diabetes to see whether their diet increased that risk even further.
Methods: A total of 24 children with type 1 diabetes (mean age 4.5 years) and 27 healthy controls (mean age 4.6 years) participated in this cross-sectional study. Food intake was assessed by two 4-day food records.
Results: Children with type 1 diabetes had a higher energy intake from protein (18 vs 15%, p < 0.05) and fat (35 vs 31%, p < 0.05) but lower intake from carbohydrates (47 vs 54%, p < 0.05), than the healthy control group. Intake of saturated fat was higher than recommended in both groups, and consumption of fruit and vegetables was lower than recommended, but similar, in both the diabetes and control groups (191 vs 207 g per day). Total intake of fat was negatively correlated with intake of fruit and vegetables (r = -0.74 p < 0.05) in children with type 1 diabetes.
Conclusion: Children under 7 years of age with type 1 diabetes eat too much saturated fat and not enough fruit and vegetables. Their diet should be improved to reduce their cardiovascular risk.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Dietary fats; Fruit and vegetables; Preschool children; Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
©2013 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.