Whole Grain Consumption by Teens and Young Adults Falls Short of Guidelines

Researchers Explore Influences, Modifiable Factors, and Interventions

St. Louis, MO, 1 February 2010 – Three daily servings of whole grains are recommended for prevention of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and excess weight gain. Yet few adolescents or young adults follow these guidelines, according to national survey data. In a study published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota report that young people are consuming less than 1 serving of whole grains per day. The study took an in-depth look at influencers, modifiable factors, and interventions that are critical for successfully addressing this gap.

Using the results of Project EAT (Eating Among Teens)-II, researchers analyzed the consumption of whole grains by 792 adolescents and 1,686 young adults between the ages of 15 and 23. There were 1,110 males (44.8%) and 1,368 females (55.2%) in the sample. Demographic characteristics were also collected to identify factors associated with daily intake of whole grains.

Daily whole-grain servings were estimated by summing the reported frequency of consuming dark bread (1 slice), kasha/couscous/bulgur, popcorn (1 small bag), hot breakfast cereal (1 bowl), and cold breakfast cereal (1 bowl).

The authors examined the associations of socio-environmental, personal, and behavioral factors with whole grain intake. For increased consumption, home availability of whole grains was the only socio-environmental factor, while a preference for the taste of whole-grain breads and confidence that one could change or maintain their eating patterns to consume the recommended number of whole grain servings were the personal factors of importance. Among behavioral factors, fast-food consumption negatively affected whole grain consumption.

Writing in the article, Nicole I. Larson, PhD, MPH, RD, Research Associate, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, and colleagues state, “The findings of this study indicate that interventions designed to promote improvements in whole-grain intake should address confidence to consume whole grains, taste preferences for whole-grain products, and the availability of these foods in settings where youth frequently eat meals (schools, home, and restaurants). Nutrition interventions should provide opportunities to taste a variety of whole-grain foods, including newly developed products such as white whole-wheat bread...In order to improve the availability of whole-grain breads and other products at home, parents as well as youth may need to be provided additional tools to help them identify and prepare whole-grain products. The observation of an inverse relationship between fast-food intake and whole grain intake further suggests there is a need to improve the availability of whole-grain products in restaurants.”

The article is “Whole-grain intake correlates among adolescents and young adults: Findings from Project EAT” by Nicole I. Larson, PhD, MPH, RD; Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD; Mary Story, PhD, RD; and Teri Burgess-Champoux, PhD, RD. It appears in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 2 (February 2010) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article featured above is available upon request. Contact Lynelle Korte at 314-447-9227 or jadamedia@elsevier.com to obtain a copy. Journalists wishing to interview Nicole I. Larson may contact her via email at larsonn@umn.edu.

###

About The Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The official journal of the American Dietetic Association the Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, foodservice systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

About The American Dietetic Association
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media Contact:
Lynelle Korte
Elsevier
+1 314 447 9227
jadamedia@elsevier.com