To evaluate the longitudinal impact of dietary counseling on children's nutrient intake.
A prospective, randomized, clinical trial.
Children were recruited to the study between December 1, 1989, and May 30, 1992. At the age of 7 months, children were randomized to the intervention group (n = 540) or the control group (n = 522) and were followed up until the age of 10 years.
Families in the intervention group have, since randomization, received regularly individualized counseling about how to modify the quality and quantity of fat in the child's diet, the goal being an unsaturated-saturated fat ratio of 2:1.
Main Outcome Measures
Nutrient intakes between the ages of 4 and 10 years based on annual 4-day food records.
The fat intake of the intervention children was constantly around 30% of the calorie (energy) intake, while that of the control children was 2 to 3 calorie percentage units higher (P<.001). The intervention children received 2 to 3 calorie percentage units less saturated fats and 0.5 to 1.0 calorie percentage unit more polyunsaturated fats than the control children (P<.001 for both). However, neither group reached the 2:1 goal set for the unsaturated-saturated fatty acid ratio. The vitamin and mineral intakes of the intervention and control children closely resembled each other despite the marked differences in fat intake.
Individualized, biannually given, fat intake–focused dietary counseling that began at the child's age of 8 months continued to influence favorably the diet of 4- to 10-year-old intervention children without disadvantageous dietary effects, but the 2:1 goal for unsaturated-saturated fat ratio was not reached.