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Whole grain consumption is inversely associated with BMI Z-score in rural school-aged children

  • Silvina F Choumenkovitch (a1), Nicola M McKeown (a2), Alison Tovar (a1), Raymond R Hyatt (a3), Vivica I Kraak (a4), Alia V Hastings (a1), Julia Bloom Herzog (a1) and Christina D Economos (a1)...

To examine the relationship between intake of whole grains and BMI Z-score in rural children.


General linear models and logistic regression were used to examine the cross-sectional associations between whole grain intake and BMI Z-score, prevalence and odds ratios of overweight and obesity. Dietary intake was assessed using the Block Food Screener for ages 2–17 years. Children were classified into three categories according to servings of whole grain intake: <1·0 serving/d, 1·0–1·5 servings/d and >1·5 servings/d.


The CHANGE (Creating Healthy, Active and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) study, an obesity prevention intervention in elementary schools in eight rural US communities in California, Mississippi, Kentucky and South Carolina.


Seven hundred and ninety-two children attending 3rd–6th grade.


After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, physical activity and state of residence, whole grain intake was inversely associated with BMI Z-score (0·90 v. 0·61 in the lowest v. the highest whole grain intake category; P trend = 0·01). Children who consumed >1·5 servings of whole grains/d had a 40 % lower risk of being obese (OR = 0·60; 95 % CI 0·38, 0·95, P = 0·02) compared with children who consumed <1·0 serving/d. Further adjustment for potential dietary predictors of body weight (fruit, vegetable and dairy intakes) did not change the observed associations.


Increasing the intake of whole grains as part of an overall healthy lifestyle may be beneficial for children to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

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