Brown study shows diet improvement for U.S. children

The diet of U.S. children drastically improved from 1999 to 2012. | shutterstock
A recent study conducted by Brown students on the diet quality of U.S. children has shown drastic improvement between 1999 and 2012.

The study looked at data collected from more than 38,000 children. Some disparities still remain among key subgroups, however.

“I am encouraged by the gains,” Xiao Gu, lead author of the study and a master’s student in epidemiology at the School of Public Health at Brown, said.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, had a bottom line measured on the 100-point Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010). During the study, the average HEI-2010 score rose from 50.9 to 42.5, with children eating healthier foods.

“Although we showed several components still need to be improved … our paper provides evidence that we are on the correct track,” Gu said. “The average score for whole grains is only 2, which is far below its maximum of 10, even though we observed a significant increasing trend. For whole fruit the optimal is 5 but the average we observed is 2.1. I think the increasing trend is encouraging but the current dietary quality level is disappointing.”

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