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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI)

There are 3 publications in this collection, published between 2018 and 2018.
Recent Work (3)

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage and Water Intake in Relation to Diet Quality in U.S. Children.

Introduction: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a major contributor to children’s added sugar consumption. This study examines whether children’s SSB and water intake are associated with diet quality and total energy intake.

Methods: Using data on children ages 2–18 years from the 2009–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, linear regression models were used to analyze SSB and water intake in relation to Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010) scores and total energy intake. Generalized linear models were used to analyze SSB and water intake in relation to the HEI-2010 scores. Analyses were conducted including and excluding caloric contributions from SSBs, and were conducted in 2016–2017.

Results: SSB intake was inversely associated with the HEI-2010 total scores (9.5-point lower score comparing more than two servings/day with zero servings/day, p-trend<0.0001) and positively associated with total energy intake (394 kcal higher comparing more than two servings/day with zero servings/day, p-trend<0.0001). The associations between SSB and HEI-2010 total scores were similar when SSBs were excluded from HEI-2010 calculations. Water intake was positively associated with HEI-2010 total scores, but not associated with total energy intake. SSB intake was inversely associated with several HEI-2010 component scores, notably vegetables, total fruit, whole fruit, greens and beans, whole grains, dairy, seafood and plant proteins, and empty calories. Water intake was positively associated with most of the same HEI-2010 component scores.

Conclusions: Children who consume SSBs have poorer diet quality and higher total energy intake than children who do not consume SSBs. Interventions for obesity and chronic disease should focus on replacing SSBs with water and improving other aspects of diet quality that correlate with SSB consumption.

Eating School Meals Daily Is Associated with Healthier Dietary Intakes: The Healthy Communities Study.

Background: Research on the association between school meal consumption and overall dietary intake post-Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act implementation is limited.

Objective: This study examines the association between frequency of participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and children’s dietary intakes.

Design: The Healthy Communities Study was a cross-sectional observational study conducted between 2013-2015.

Participants/setting: U.S. children ages 4-15 years (n=5,106).

Main outcome measures: Dietary measures were assessed using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Dietary Screener Questionnaire. Dietary intake included fruit/vegetables, fiber, whole grains, dairy, calcium., total added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, and energy-dense foods of minimal nutritional value.

Statistical analysis: Multivariate statistical models assessed associations between frequency of eating school breakfast or lunch (every day vs. not every day) and dietary intake, adjusting for child and community-level covariates. 

Results: Children who ate school breakfast every day compared to children who ate 0-4 days/week, reported consuming more fruits/vegetables (0.1 cup/day, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.1), dietary fiber (0.4 g/day, 95% CI: 0.2, 0.7), whole grains (0.1 oz/day, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.1), dairy (0.1 cup/day, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.1), and calcium (34.5 mg/day, 95% CI: 19.1, 49.9). Children who ate school lunch every day compared to those who ate less frequently, consumed more dairy (0.1 cup/day, 95% CI: 0.1, 0.2) and calcium (32.4 mg/day, 95% CI: 18.1, 46.6).  No significant associations were observed between school meal consumption and energy-dense nutrient poor foods or added sugars.

Conclusions: Eating school breakfast and school lunch every day by U.S. schoolchildren was associated with modestly healthier dietary intakes. These findings suggest potential nutritional benefits of regularly consuming school meals.

No food for thought: Food insecurity is related to poor mental health and lower academic performance among students in California's public university system.

This study examined the relationships between food insecurity, mental health, and academic performance among college students in a California public university system ( N = 8705). Structural equation modeling was performed to examine a direct path from food insecurity to student grade point average and an indirect path through mental health, controlling for demographic characteristics. Food insecurity was related to lower student grade point average directly and indirectly through poor mental health. These findings support the need for future interventions and policy on the importance of providing students with the basic needs to succeed both academically and in the future.