DASH-Style Diet Linked to Lower BMI in Adolescent Girls

Higher consumption of fruit, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains linked to lower BMI

TUESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- A higher adherence to a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-style diet by girls between the ages of 9 and 19 years is associated with a consistently lower body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Jonathan P.B. Berz, M.D., from the Boston University Medical Center, and colleagues examined the effects of specific dietary patterns, mainly a DASH eating pattern, on BMI (kg/m²) during adolescence. A total of 2,327 girls, aged 9 years, were enrolled in the National Growth and Health Study in three cities. During annual visits during 10 years of follow-up, the impact of individual DASH-related food groups and a DASH-adherence score on BMI were assessed.

The investigators found that, after adjusting for confounding variables, girls in the highest quintile of the DASH score had a significantly lower adjusted mean BMI compared to those in the lowest quintile (24.4 versus 26.3). Consumption of fruit and low-fat dairy products were the strongest individual food group predictors of BMI. BMI was significantly higher for those eating less than one portion of fruit compared to two or more portions, and for those consuming less than one compared to two or more servings per day of low-fat dairy produce. The consumption of whole grain was more weakly but favorably correlated with BMI.

"Adolescent girls whose diet more closely resembled the DASH eating pattern had smaller gains in BMI over 10 years. Such an eating pattern may help prevent excess weight gain during adolescence," the authors write.

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