Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Dietary Intake Among California Children

Published in: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, v. 116, no. 3, Mar. 2016, p. 439-448

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2016

by Alma D. Guerrero, Paul J. Chung

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Research Question

  1. How do dietary practices—such as consumption of fruit juice, fresh fruit, vegetables, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets, and fast-food—vary among racial and ethnic groups of children in California?

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of childhood obesity among racial and ethnic minority groups is high. Multiple factors affect the development of childhood obesity, including dietary practices. OBJECTIVE: To examine the racial and ethnic differences in reported dietary practices among the largest minority groups of California children. METHODS:Data from the 2007 and 2009 California Health Interview Survey were analyzed using multivariate regression with survey weights to examine how race, ethnicity, sociodemographic characteristics, and child factors were associated with specific dietary practices. RESULTS: The sample included 15,902 children aged 2 to 11 years. In multivariate regressions, substantial differences in fruit juice, fruit, vegetable, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets, and fast-food consumption were found among the major racial and ethnic groups of children. Asians regardless of interview language were more likely than whites to have low vegetable intake consumption (Asians English interview odds ratio [OR] 1.20, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.43; Asians non-English-interview OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.23 to 3.57) and low fruit consumption (Asians English interview OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.41 to 2.03; Asians non-English interview OR 3.04, 95% CI 2.00 to 4.6). Latinos regardless of interview language were also more likely than whites to have high fruit juice (Latinos English interview OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.28 to 1.84 and Latinos non-English interview OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.62) and fast-food consumption (Latinos English interview OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.46 to 2.08 and Latinos non-English interview OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.91); but Latinos were less likely than whites to consume sweets (Latinos English interview OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.99 and Latinos non-English interview OR 0.56, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.91). CONCLUSIONS: Significant racial and ethnic differences exist in the dietary practices of California children. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption appears to be associated with parent education but not income. Our findings suggest that anticipatory guidance and dietary counseling might benefit from tailoring to specific ethnic groups to potentially address disparities in overweight and obesity.

Key Findings

  • There are significant racial and ethnic differences in the dietary practices of California children.
  • Asians were more likely than whites to have low vegetable and fruit consumption.
  • Latinos were more likely than whites to have high fruit juice and fast-food consumption, but less likely than whites to consume sweets.
  • Increased fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to parent education but not income.

Recommendation

Dietary guidance and counseling to address disparities in dietary behavior as well as to address disparities in overweight and obesity might benefit from tailoring to specific ethnic groups.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.