To investigate whether dietary counseling designed for primary prevention of atherosclerosis and given repeatedly since infancy had an effect on prepubertal children's body satisfaction.
Randomized controlled trial.
At the age of 7 months, 1062 infants were randomized to an intervention group (n = 540) or a control group (n = 522). At the age of 8 years, body satisfaction of 217 children in the intervention group and 218 in the control group was evaluated.
Since the children were 8 months old, families in the intervention group had regularly received individualized health education and dietary advice aimed at decreasing the children's intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Main Outcome Measures
A pictorial instrument was used in measuring estimated current and desired body sizes; a difference between the 2 indicated body dissatisfaction. Weight and height were measured.
When adjusted for relative weight, there were no differences in the mean values of estimated current size, desired size, or body dissatisfaction between the girls in the intervention and control groups (P = .62, P = .72, and P = .39, respectively), or between the boys in the intervention and control groups (P = .21, P = .64, and P = .53, respectively). The proportions of children who were satisfied with their size, who wished to be thinner, or who wished to look heavier did not differ between the intervention and control groups in either girls (P = .65) or boys (P = .85).
Long-term, individualized dietary counseling since infancy with the focus on dietary fat did not enhance body dissatisfaction or desire to be thinner in 8-year-old children.