- This investigation was undertaken to obtain information on the
dietary intake of Oregon preschool children and to determine the
effect of certain socio-environmental variables on the nutrient intake
of these children. Three hundred boys and girls who were attending
Well Child or Multiphasic Screening Clinics in 11 counties participated
in this project. A home economist interviewed the parent to obtain
the child's dietary intake and socio-environmental data of the family.
Dietary intake was determined by 24-hour recall or 3-day records.
Nutrient intake was compared to the 1974 Recommended Dietary
Allowances (RDA); intakes below 67 percent of the RDA were considered
low. Correlations of socio-environmental factors with
nutrient intake were determined by simple linear regression and
multiple regression analysis.
The mean and median of the children's intake of vitamin A, exceeded the RDA. While the median of their niacin intake was just
below the RDA, the mean and median of their iron intake was below
the recommended level. Protein and riboflavin were consumed
abundantly, with 0 and 3.3 percent of the subjects, respectively,
failing to receive two-thirds of the RDA. Sixty-three percent of the
children ingested diets that supplied two to three times the RDA for
protein. The nutrients most commonly lacking were iron, ascorbic
acid, calcium and thiamin, with 39.7, 18.7, 15.3, and 13.0 percent,
respectively, of the children having low intakes. Forty-one percent
of the children received a nutrient supplement, which was not included
in these calculations.
The percentage of children consuming diets containing less than
67 percent of the RDA increased with age for the intakes of vitamin A,
thiamin, and kilocalories. Low intakes of iron, on the other hand,
declined with age. Riboflavin intake was lowest among the four- to
six-year-old children. Adequacy of ascorbic acid, niacin and calcium
did not show any relation to age.
The socio-environmental variables examined were geographic
location (urban, rural, or metropolitan), number of siblings as well as
education and occupation of each parent. Other socio-environmental
variables considered were whether or not the family received public
assistance or had contact with the Cooperative Extension Service
personnel and bulletins. When multiple regression analysis was
ascorbic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, protein, and kilocalories performed, the only significant correlation (p < 0.05) was observed
between the intake of ascorbic acid, mother's education, and mother's
profession. Four socio-environmental variables were significantly
correlated (p < 0.05) with the intake of one or more nutrients by
simple linear regression. A significant correlation was found between
mother's education and the intakes of ascorbic acid, calories, and
thiamin. A significant correlation was observed between mother's
profession and the intakes of niacin and ascorbic acid. Father's
education was found to be significantly related to the intake of thiamin.
The only significant, negative correlation was found between the intake
of thiamin and the number of siblings.