Objective: To investigate the relationship between diet composition and body mass index (BMI) in pre-school children.
Design: Reanalysis of data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of children aged 1.5-4.5 y. Height and weight of children were used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) and BMI standard deviation scores. Dietary intake data were used to calculate percentage of total energy intake derived from fat, carbohydrate and protein. These data were then divided into quintiles. The data were then analysed in order to assess if there was any relationship between the diet composition and BMI.
Setting: Community based project throughout Great Britain.
Subjects: 1444 children aged 1.5-4.5 y.
Measurements: Diet composition was assessed in terms of percentage energy derived from fat, protein and carbohydrate following a four day weighed intake carried out by the parents or carers of the child. Body size was assessed by measuring BMI and calculating the standard deviation score relative to UK reference data.
Results: There were no trends apparent using ANOVA and multiple regression that indicated that diet composition was related to body size.
Conclusions: In a large cohort of pre-school children we are unable to confirm the recent findings in much smaller samples that diet composition affects body size. Other factors such as energy intake per se and levels of habitual physical activity might have a more important bearing on BMI in pre-school children.