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Poverty Drains Nutrition From Family Diet
Date:2/21/2008

ed to be relatively untouched by the food-security status of the household in terms of the amount of calories or micronutrients consumed.

Adolescents, however, were a different story. Boys between the ages of 14 and 18 living in food-insecure environments appeared to be particularly vulnerable to general micronutrient inadequacy in their diets, while also consuming less milk, fruit and vegetables than their peers.

Adolescent girls were also impacted. Teen diets for both sexes living in food-insecure homes were found to be deficient in vitamin A, protein and magnesium while compensated with food higher in fat content, relative to those from food-secure homes.

Adults in food-insecure settings consumed less protein, fat and fiber, and, in some cases, followed diets strikingly insufficient in vitamins and minerals. Among food-insecure men between the ages of 31 and 70 and food-insecure women between the ages of 51 and 70, overall caloric intake and meat consumption was also lower. And for most, carbohydrates accounted for a larger slice of their overall diet at the expense of fruit and milk consumption.

"The poor dietary patterns of those in food-insecure households provide a moral imperative for policy responses to address the root causes of this problem in both Canada and the U.S.," said Kirkpatrick.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, agreed the issue warrants greater attention.

"The issue of diet quality in low-income and food-insecure groups is a very serious issue, because the flip side of the low intake of minerals and vitamins is that these kind of low-quality diets are usually characterized by large amounts of starch and refined sugar," he said. "And, it's fair to assume, these people are not loading up on brown rice and quinoa [an organic grain]. So, we're talking about empty calories that predispose people to becoming overweight and def
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