Chicago -- The August 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles.
Measuring Adherence to Dietary Guidelines
Researchers at the University of Alabama have developed a new way to measure how closely people follow dietary recommendations contained in tools like the Food Guide Pyramid and the new MyPyramid. They say young children's adherence to the recommendations decreases as the children get older.
The dual purposes of the study were to develop and test the potential usefulness of a new measure of adherence to dietary recommendations and to use it to assess the diets of children. The researchers define "adherence" as the degree to which a person's intake meets a standard or recommendation.
Using data from the government's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, the researchers analyzed food consumption patterns of nearly 7,000 children in two groups, ages 2 to 3 and 4 to 8, and developed "food group adherence scores" based on the children's intake and the food guide recommendations.
According to the researchers: "For these two age groups of children, although the number of servings for the food groups significantly increased, the adherence scores significantly decreased with increasing age." This reflects a common tendency among adolescents to abandon healthier eating habits as they become more independent and perhaps have more freedom to purchase their own snack foods. The new scoring system suggests that even small increases in consumption of fruits and vegetables "could dramatically improve the overall dietary quality of the 4-to-8-year-old child."
The researchers conclude: "Adherence scores may be a useful tool and could be used in program evaluation, surveillance and epidemiological studies of diet and health."