The Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC): Dietary assessment methods for 8- to 10-year-olds

Linda V. Van Horn*, Phyllis Stumbo, Alicia Moag-Stahlberg, Eva Obarzanek, Virginia W. Hartmuller, Rosanne P. Farris, Sue Y.S. Kimm, Margaret Frederick, Linda Snetselaar, Kiang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Objectives The dietary assessment methods used in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC) are described and the rationale, validity, and/or general usefulness of each are discussed. Design DISC is the first multicenter, randomized, clinical trial to study the feasibility and long-term efficacy, safety, and acceptability of a fat-modified diet in 8- to 10-year-old prepubescent children with moderately elevated plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Final data collection for the original study (DISC I) occurred December 1, 1993; continued intervention and follow-up (DISC II) will extend beyond 1997. Setting Six clinical centers across the country participate in DISC. Subjects Preadolescent boys and girls with fasting LDL-C levels between the 80th and 98th age-specific and sex-specific percentiles established by the Lipid Research Clinics were eligible for the study. The feasibility phase included 140 children who were then enveloped into the full-scale trial. Baseline dietary data for 652 randomized children in the full-scale trial and 6-month results for the feasibility cohort are reported. Interventions Dietary assessment involved several elements: (a) determining eligibility based on consumption of more than 30% of energy from total fat, (b) monitoring adherence to and adequacy of the intervention diet, (c) evaluating acceptability of the diet in the intervention group, and (d) determining appropriate foods for the intervention diet. Methods are described for each purpose. Main outcome measures LDL-C differences between the two groups and differences in total and saturated fat intakes as calculated from three 24-hour recalls were the primary outcome measures. Six-month dietary differences in the feasibility group are reported. Statistical methods Baseline group means and 6-month differences in dietary intake are reported for the full-scale trial and feasibility study, respectively. Results Baseline mean intake from three dietary recalls for the intervention (n = 328) and control (n = 324) groups, respectively, were as follows: energy = 1,759 kcal and 1,728 kcal; total energy from fat = 33.3% and 34.0%; total energy from saturated fat = 12.5% and 12.7%; and total dietary cholesterol = 209 mg and 195 mg. After 6 months of intervention, percentage of energy from total fat and saturated fat was reduced by 5.1% (P = .004) and 2.9% (P < .001), respectively, in this feasibility subset (n = 73) of the intervention group. Essentially no change in these parameters occurred in the control group (n = 67), which demonstrates a measurable difference in reporting between groups. Applications/conclusions Results illustrate the feasibility of implementing a variety of dietary assessment methods among preadolescent children without relying primarily on parental reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1403
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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