The association between parental smoking and the diet quality of low-income children.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between parental smoking and the diet quality of children residing in low-income housholds in the United States. MTHODS: Data from 515 low-income children (less than or equal to 185% of the poverty line), ages 2 to 17, who participated in the 1989 and 1990 United States Department of Agriculture Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals were examined. Diet quality was assessed by examining the average daily amount of nutrients consumed per 1000 kcal for protein, fiber, and 14 essential vitamins and minerals as well as total energy, percent of energy from total fat and saturated fat, and cholesterol and sodium intakes using the 3-day average of one 24-hour recall and 2 days of diet records. Parental smoking was categorized as four levels (nonsmoker; 1 to 10, 11 to 20, and more than 20) on the basis of the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by the sample child's parents. Analysis of covariance examined differences in the children's nutrient intake among the four smoking categories while controling for race, mother's age and occupation, child age, and sex. RESULTS: Low-income children with parents who smoked (n = 235) were more likely to be white (P <.001), had younger mothers (P <.05) and were more likely to have mothers employed in blue-collar occupations (P <.001) than children whose parents were nonsmokers (N = 280). Children whose parents smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day had a higher level of energy from saturated fat, and children whose parents smoked 11 to 20 cigarettes per day had the highest cholesterol intakes in comparison with the rest of the sample. Parental smoking was also related to total fiber intake per 1000 kcal, with children of smokers having lower fiber intakes than children of nonsmokers. CONCLUSIONS: On average, low-income children of smokers had a poorer diet quality than low-income children of nonsmokers, thus increasing their future risk of chronic disease.
Johnson, RK; Wang, MQ; Smith, MJ; Connolly, G
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