To identify important food sources of energy, fiber, and major macro- and micronutrients among rural Native American and white children.
In a 1997 cross-sectional study, food frequency questionnaire data were collected during in-person interviews with caregivers of young children.
Participants included a representative sample of 329 rural Native American and non-Hispanic white children aged 1 through 6 years living in northeastern Oklahoma.
The percentage that each of 85 food items contributed to the population intake of 10 dietary constituents was calculated for the total sample and by age and race/ethnicity. Percentages are presented in descending rank order for foods providing at least 2% of the total sample intake. Z scores were used to assess age and racial/ethnic differences in food sources.
Primary energy sources among study children were milk, cheese, white breads, salty snacks, nondiet soft drinks, hot dogs, candy, and sweetened fruit drinks. Diets showed poor food variety. With few exceptions (eg, milk, cheese, 100% orange juice, ready-to-eat cereals, peanuts/peanut butter, and dried beans), top sources of most dietary constituents were low-nutrient-dense high-fat foods and refined carbohydrates. Solid fruits and vegetables contributed minimally to nutrient and fiber intake. There were few differences in food sources by age or race/ethnicity.
Among rural Native American and white children in northeastern Oklahoma, food sources of nutrients appear less healthful than found in national samples. Sugar-sweetened beverages, high-fat foods, and refined carbohydrates are displacing more nutrient-dense alternatives, increasing children's risk for childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, and adult chronic disease.