Objective: The longitudinal relationship between the consumption of energy-dense snack (EDS) foods and relative weight change during adolescence is uncertain. Using data from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Growth and Development Study, the current analysis was undertaken to examine the longitudinal relationship of EDS food intake with relative weight status and percentage body fat and to examine how EDS food consumption is related to television viewing.
Research Methods and Procedures: One hundred ninety-six nonobese premenarcheal girls 8 to 12 years old were enrolled between 1990 and 1993 and followed until 4 years after menarche. At each annual follow-up visit, data were collected on percentage body fat (%BF), BMI z score, and dietary intake. Categories of EDS foods considered were baked goods, ice cream, chips, sugar-sweetened soda, and candy.
Results: At study entry, girls had a mean ± SD BMI z score of −0.27 ± 0.89, consumed 2.3 ± 1.7 servings of EDS foods per day, and consumed 15.7 ± 8.1% of daily calories from EDS foods. Linear mixed effects modeling indicated no relationship between BMI z score or %BF and total EDS food consumption. Soda was the only EDS food that was significantly related to BMI z score over the 10-year study period, but it was not related to %BF. In addition, a significant, positive relationship was observed between EDS food consumption and television viewing.
Discussion: In this cohort of initially nonobese girls, overall EDS food consumption does not seem to influence weight status or fatness change over the adolescent period.