Adult fat intake associated with the presence of children in households: Findings from NHANES III

Helena H. Laroche*, Timothy P. Hofer, Matthew M. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Increasing prevalence of obesity and lifestyle related chronic disease is fundamentally tied to Americans' poor eating habits. Family environment, including the presence of children, may affect adults' diet behavior. Objective: To compare dietary fat intake between adults with and without minor children in the home. Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) public use dataset. Subjects: Adults aged 17 to 65 years with and without children younger than 17 years old in the home. Outcome variables: Intake of total fat, saturated fat, and kilocalories based on a 24-hour dietary recall and a selection of high-fat foods from a food frequency questionnaire. Methods: Linear and logistic regression, accounting for the sample weights and complex survey design. Results: The presence of children in the household was associated with significantly higher adjusted total fat consumption for adults (4.9 g/24 hours [95% CI: 0.8, 9.1]) and significantly higher adjusted saturated fat consumption (1.7 g/24 hours [0.3, 3.3]). Adults with children ate many high-fat foods more frequently than adults without children, including salty snacks, pizza, cheese, beef, ice cream, cakes/cookies, bacon/sausage/processed meats, and peanuts. Conclusions: The presence of children in the home may affect adults' diets. Providers should emphasize dietary discretion for the entire family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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