Intensively managed young children with type 1 diabetes consume high-fat, low-fiber diets similar to age-matched controls

Nutr Res. 2014 May;34(5):428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.04.008. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


Despite significant emphasis on nutrition, older children with diabetes demonstrate poor dietary quality. We tested the hypothesis that dietary quality in young children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) would be better than age-matched children in the US population. Dietary data from children with T1D (n = 67) aged 2 to 12 years attending a pediatric diabetes clinic were compared with a nationally representative, age-matched sample from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; n = 1691). Multiple 24-hour dietary recalls were used. Recommended intakes were based on national guidelines, and dietary quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2005. More children with T1D were overweight or obese compared with children participating in NHANES (42% vs 30%, P = .04). Greater proportions of children with T1D met daily recommendations for vegetables (22% vs 13%, P = .03), whole grains (12% vs 5%, P = .005), and dairy (55% vs 36%, P = .001) compared with NHANES children, whereas similar proportions met daily fruit recommendations (40% vs 33%, P = .2). Less than one-third of all children limited total fat to recommended levels; children with T1D consumed more saturated fat than did NHANES children (14% vs 12% total energy intake, P = .0009). Fiber intakes were very low in both groups. Compared with NHANES children, children with T1D had higher Healthy Eating Index-2005 scores (59.6 vs 49.7, P = .0006) primarily because of lower intakes of added sugars. The nutritional intake of young children with T1D remains suboptimal in the contemporary era of diabetes management. Despite focused nutrition management, young children with T1D consume high-fat, low-fiber diets comparable with youth in the general population.

Keywords: Childhood obesity; Cross-sectional analysis; Diabetes mellitus; Nutrition; Pediatrics; Type 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy*
  • Diet* / standards
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / complications
  • United States


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber