Introduction: Studies of Western countries revealed that dietary carbohydrate seemed to be relevant to obesity. However, studies about the relevance of foods rich in carbohydrate among Chinese children on their body composition are lacking. Our aim was to investigate whether the consumption of grain and tubers is associated with body composition in Chinese children.
Materials & Methods: Cross-sectional valid data from 2006 children (52.3% boys) aged 7-18 years in South China were analyzed. Weight, height and skinfold thickness were measured. Body mass index, body fat percentage (%BF), fat mass index (FMI) and fat free mass index (FFMI) were calculated. International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria was used to define overweight and obesity. Based on food frequency questionnaire, the daily consumption of grain and tubers was calculated. Prevalence of overweight and obesity, %BF, FMI and FFMI were compared between low/median/high food consumption groups using chi-square tests or wilcoxon signed rank tests for each age group, respectively.
Results: %BF and FMI were higher in girls than those in boys. Boys (402.4g/d) consumed more grain than girls (344.8g/d) (p<0.0001), and children aged 13-15 years consumed more grain than the other age groups. Similar associations were not observed for tubers. There was no significant difference of overweight/obesity prevalence between low/median/high food consumption groups. Among children aged 13-15 years, %BF, FMI and FFMI were significantly different between grain consumption groups (p<0.0001), and children consumed the least servings of grain had highest %BF and FMI. Moreover, FMI and FFMI were significantly different between tubers consumption groups among 10-12 years group (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Among Chinese children, consumption of grain and tubers seems to be correlated with obesity, and this relevance is primarily for body composition among older children.