Predictors of nutritional adequacy in mother-toddler dyads from rural families with limited incomes

Sharon L Hoerr, Mildred A Horodynski, Seung-Yeon Lee, Michelle Henry
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2006, 106 (11): 1766-73

OBJECTIVE: To predict the mean adequacy ratio (MAR) scores of mothers and toddlers from intakes of fruits, vegetables, and dairy group foods and being seated during mealtimes.

DESIGN/SUBJECTS: This was a regression analysis of cross-sectional data of the diet quality and being seated during mealtimes of 100 rural mother-toddler dyads from limited-income families using two 24-hour dietary recalls. Children were 11 to 25 months of age and at or below 100% of the poverty index.

MEASURES OF OUTCOME: Dietary quality for mothers and toddlers was assessed using a MAR score for eight different nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium), and a score of 85 or above was considered nutritionally adequate. The main food groups of interest were servings from the fruits, vegetables, and dairy group foods. Mealtime sitting behavior was the percentage of times the toddler remained seated while eating.

RESULTS: Servings of fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods predicted 0.62 of the variance in the mother's MAR score, whereas vegetable and dairy intakes along with being seated while eating indicated nutritional adequacy for toddlers. Mothers with low MAR scores were most likely to have toddlers with poor diets, although few toddlers had poor diet quality.

CONCLUSIONS: Adequate intakes of dairy, vegetables, and whole fruits along with being seated while eating could be quick assessment tools to screen toddlers for nutritional risk. Mothers with poor diet quality were likely to have toddlers with poor diets; low intakes of fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods were markers for poor diet quality in mothers.

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