Objective. Diets reduced in fat and cholesterol are recommended for children over 2 years of age, yet long-term safety and efficacy are unknown. This study tests the long-term efficacy and safety of a cholesterol-lowering dietary intervention in children. Methods. Six hundred sixty-three children 8 to 10 years of age with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were randomized to a dietary intervention or usual care group, with a mean of 7.4 years' follow-up. The dietary behavioral intervention promoted adherence to a diet with 28% of energy from total fat, <8% from saturated fat, up to 9% from polyunsaturated fat, and <75 mg/1000 kcal cholesterol per day. Serum LDL-C, height, and serum ferritin were primary efficacy and safety outcomes. Results. Reductions in dietary total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol were greater in the intervention than in the usual care group throughout the intervention period. At 1 year, 3 years, and at the last visit, the intervention compared with the usual care group had 4.8 mg/dL (.13 mmol/L), 3.3 mg/dL (.09 mmol/L), and 2.0 mg/dL (.05 mmol/L) lower LDL-C, respectively. There were no differences at any data collection point in height or serum ferritin or any differences in an adverse direction in red blood cell folate, serum retinol and zinc, sexual maturation, or body mass index. Conclusion. Dietary fat modification can be achieved and safely sustained in actively growing children with elevated LDL-C, and elevated LDL-C levels can be improved significantly up to 3 years. Changes in the usual care group's diet suggest that pediatric practices and societal and environmental forces are having positive public health effects on dietary behavior during adolescence.
- Fat intake
- Saturated fat
- Serum cholesterol
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health