Andrea Moosreiner, MPH, RD, CD; Michele Polfuss, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC; Bethany Forseth, PhD, MS
Background: Children with developmental disabilities have a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. The role and contribution of their diet to weight status is poorly understood.
Objectives: This pilot study describes the dietary quality of children with spina bifida and Down syndrome compared with typically developing peers.
Methods: Dietary intakes of 8 children with spina bifida or Down syndrome and 4 children without developmental disabilities, aged 8 to 18 years, were collected using six 24-hour dietary recalls through Facetime. Dietary quality was assessed by application of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).
Results: Children with spina bifida and Down syndrome had higher HEI scores when compared to typically developing peers (48.3, 52.9, and 46.2, respectively) and vegetable consumption (1.9, 2.6, and 1.4, respectively). All groups had undesirable intakes of saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. Within this small sample, children with spina bifida and Down Syndrome had similar diet quality to their typically developing peers.
Conclusions: Further investigation in a larger sample is recommended to support the development of methods to optimize weight management in children with developmental disabilities.