Resemblance in dietary intakes of snacks, sweets, fruit, vegetables, energy, macronutrients, and selected micronutrients among mother-child dyads from families with limited incomes

Kathryn Wroten, Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College


The objective of these studies was to determine the association between dietary intakes of selected food groups, macronutrients, and micronutrients in mother-child dyads. This was a secondary analysis of data on low-income Black, Hispanic, and White children 3-5 years-old (y) participating in Head Start (HS) (n=650), and their mothers. Mothers served as a proxy for their child, and self-reported intake during a multiple-pass 24-hour recall interview for one weekend day. One weekend day was chosen since children attended HS during the week, and mothers may not know what their children consumed outside the home. Data were collected on children’s and mothers’ intakes of servings of snacks, sweets, fruit, and vegetables, and amounts of energy, dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, potassium, added sugars, saturated fatty acids (SFA), trans fat, and sodium. Analysis of variance was conducted to determine differences in intakes by race. Pearson partial correlation coefficients were determined to assess the associations of intakes between children and mothers. Both children and mothers met the recommendation for vegetables; however, they did not meet the recommendations for fruit, dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, or potassium. Further, they exceeded the recommendations for SFA and sodium. Intake of all food groups and nutrients in mothers was associated with intake of the corresponding food groups and nutrients in children (p<0.0001 for all). Nutrition professionals need to encourage mothers to consume healthy snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, and consume foods that are high in nutrients of public health concern, which include dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Nutrition professionals should also encourage mothers to consume low amounts of foods that are high in nutrients of overconsumption, which include added sugars, SFA, trans fat, and sodium. Modeling of these habits by mothers may encourage healthy eating habits in children.