To study the effects of selected dietary patterns, particularly a DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) eating pattern, on body mass index (BMI) throughout adolescence.
Prospective National Growth and Health Study.
Washington, DC; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Berkeley, California.
A total of 2327 girls with 10 annual visits starting at age 9 years.
Individual DASH-related food groups and a modified DASH adherence score.
Main Outcome Measure
The BMI value from measured yearly height and weight over 10 years.
Longitudinal mixed modeling methods were used to assess the effects of individual DASH food groups and a DASH adherence score on BMI during 10 years of follow-up, adjusting for race, height, socioeconomic status, television viewing and video game playing hours, physical activity level, and total energy intake. Girls in the highest vs lowest quintile of the DASH score had an adjusted mean BMI of 24.4 vs 26.3 (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) (P < .05). The strongest individual food group predictors of BMI were total fruit (mean BMI, 26.0 vs 23.6 for <1 vs ≥2 servings per day; P < .001) and low-fat dairy (mean BMI, 25.7 vs 23.2 for <1 vs ≥2 servings per day; P < .001). Whole grain consumption was more weakly but beneficially associated with BMI.
Adolescent girls whose diet more closely resembled the DASH eating pattern had smaller gains in BMI over 10 years. Such an eating pattern may help prevent excess weight gain during adolescence.