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Dairy, moderate fat, carbohydrate intakes reduce obesity in young teens

SAN FRANCISCO, March 4 Children who ate few dairy products and had low or high intakes of dietary fat gained more weight than those on a moderate fat diet, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association's 44th annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

"The rise in obesity in the nation's young people may be partly due to fewer home-cooked meals, more calorie-dense foods, and more takeout and prepackaged dinners," said Lynn L. Moore, D.Sc., associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "There has also been a shift toward higher intake of sodas, rather than milk.

"Some of the dietary trends of the past couple of decades may have contributed to reduced intake of beneficial foods, such as dairy products. Adolescent girls, in particular, have reduced their consumption of dairy products, in part due to fear of gaining weight. If weight gain is a concern, reduced-fat dairy products may be substituted for full-fat products."

As part of the Framingham Children's Study (FCS), Moore and her colleagues analyzed dietary habits of 106 families with one child 3 to 5 years old at the start of the study. They collected three-day food diaries for the children one to four times each year. The diaries included detailed descriptions of the food, portions, brands and recipes consumed over a 12-year period from preschool to adolescence. Researchers determined which dietary factors might be associated with excessive gains in body fat during that period. They studied macronutrients such as fat, protein and carbohydrates and micronutrients, such as calcium and other minerals. They also studied intake of foods in each of the major food groups in the USDA's food guide pyramid. The researchers assessed body fat by measurements of children's height and weight as well as skinfolds from five sites on the body.

Children with higher-fat diets (35 percent of calories or more) and lower-fa
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
4-Mar-2004


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