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Keywords:

  • adults;
  • Bogalusa Heart Study;
  • candy consumption;
  • cardiovascular risk factors;
  • children;
  • weight/adiposity

Abstract

Background

There are limited data available on the longitudinal relationship between candy consumption by children on weight and other cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) in young adults. The present study investigated whether candy consumption in children was predictive of weight and CVRF in young adults.

Methods

A longitudinal sample of children 10 years (n = 355; 61% females; 71% European-Americans, 29% African-Americans) who participated in cross-sectional surveys from 1973 to 1984 (baseline) and in one of two surveys (follow-ups) as young adults [19–38 years; mean (SD) = 23.6 (2.6) years] in Bogalusa, LA, were studied. Dietary data were collected using 24-h dietary recalls at baseline and at one follow-up survey; a food frequency questionnaire was used in the other follow-up survey. Candy consumers were those consuming any amount of candy. Candy consumption was calculated (g day–1) from baseline 24-h dietary recalls, and was used as a covariate in the adjusted linear mixed models. Dependent variables included body mass index (BMI) and CVRF measured in young adults.

Results

At baseline, 92% of children reported consuming candy [46 (45) g day–1]; the percentage decreased to 67% [20 (30) g day–1] at follow-up. No longitudinal relationship was shown between baseline candy consumption and BMI or CVRF in young adults, suggesting that candy consumption was not predictive of health risks later in life.

Conclusions

The consumption of nutrient rich foods consistent with dietary recommendations is important, although modest amounts of candy can be added to the diet without potential adverse long-term consequences to weight or CVRF. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results.