Publications by authors named "Alexandra E Cowan"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Association of food insecurity with dietary intakes and nutritional biomarkers among US children, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2016.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 May 8. Epub 2021 May 8.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Background: Food insecurity is associated with poorer nutrient intakes from food sources and lower dietary supplement use. However, its association with total usual nutrient intakes, inclusive of dietary supplements, and biomarkers of nutritional status among US children remains unknown.

Objective: The objective was to assess total usual nutrient intakes, Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) scores, and nutritional biomarkers by food security status, sex, and age among US children.

Methods: Cross-sectional data from 9147 children aged 1-18 y from the 2011-2016 NHANES were analyzed. Usual energy and total nutrient intakes and HEI-2015 scores were estimated using the National Cancer Institute method from 24-h dietary recalls.

Results: Overall diet quality was poor, and intakes of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat were higher than recommended limits, regardless of food security status. Food-insecure girls and boys were at higher risk of inadequate intakes for vitamin D and magnesium, and girls also had higher risk for inadequate calcium intakes compared with their food-secure counterparts, when total intakes were examined. Choline intakes of food-insecure children were less likely to meet the adequate intake than those of their food-secure peers. No differences by food security status were noted for folate, vitamin C, iron, zinc, potassium, and sodium intakes. Food-insecure adolescent girls aged 14-18 y were at higher risk of micronutrient inadequacies than any other subgroup, with 92.8% (SE: 3.6%) at risk of inadequate intakes for vitamin D. No differences in biomarkers for vitamin D, folate, iron, and zinc were observed by food security status. The prevalence of iron deficiency was 12.7% in food-secure and 12.0% in food-insecure adolescent girls.

Conclusions: Food insecurity was associated with compromised intake of some micronutrients, especially among adolescent girls. These results highlight a need for targeted interventions to improve children's overall diet quality, including the reduction of specific nutrient inadequacies, especially among food-insecure children. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03400436.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab113DOI Listing
May 2021

Trends in Nutrient- and Non-Nutrient-Containing Dietary Supplement Use among US Children from 1999 to 2016.

J Pediatr 2021 04 17;231:131-140.e2. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Objectives: To characterize dietary supplement use among US children, including product type, motivations, user characteristics, and trends over time with a primary focus on non-vitamin/non-mineral dietary supplements (NVNM).

Study Design: Overall, NVNM, and vitamin and/or mineral dietary supplement only (VM-only) use; motivations for use; and trends in use over time were examined in children (≤19 years of age) using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2016 data (n = 42 510).

Results: Between 1999 and 2016, overall dietary supplement and VM-only dietary supplement use among all children remained relatively stable at ∼30%; yet, NVNM dietary supplement use increased from 2.9% to 6.4%, mainly due to increased use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. NVNM use was greater in boys than in girls (3.9% vs 3.3%), and greater in older children than in younger children (P < .0001), the opposite of what was observed with VM-only dietary supplement use. Although both user groups shared 2 primary motivations, both motivations were reported by a significantly greater percent of vitamin and/or mineral dietary supplement users vs NVNM users: to maintain health (38.7% vs 23.1%) and to improve health (33.1% vs 22.6%). NVNM users were much more likely to use dietary supplement for relaxation, stress, and sleep; for mental health; and for colon and bowel health.

Conclusions: Although the prevalence of any dietary supplement and VM-only dietary supplement use among US children has both remained stable, the prevalence of NVNM use has increased substantially over time. Yet, NVNM use remains relatively low overall. NVNM use exhibited different patterns by sex, age, and motivations when compared with vitamin and/or mineral dietary supplement use. Despite increasing NVNM use, high-quality evidence supporting their use is lacking, especially in children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.12.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8005463PMC
April 2021

Examination of different definitions of snacking frequency and associations with weight status among U.S. adults.

PLoS One 2020 17;15(6):e0234355. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Department of Nutrition Science, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

Snacks, while widely consumed in the United States (U.S.), do not have a standard definition, complicating research to understand associations, if any, with weight status. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the association between snacking frequency and weight status using various snacking definitions that exist in the scientific literature among U.S. adults (NHANES 2013-2016; ≥20y n = 9,711). Four event-based snacking definitions were operationalized including participant-defined snacks, eating events outside of meals, and operationally defined snacks based on absolute thresholds of energy consumed (>50 kcal). Weight status was examined using body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and sagittal abdominal diameter risk. Logistic regression models examined snacking frequency and associations with weight status. Outcomes varied by the definition of a snack employed, but the majority of findings were null. Mean energy from snacks was significantly higher among women with obesity compared to women with normal weight when a snack was defined as any event outside of a typical mealtime (i.e. other than breakfast, lunch, dinner, super, brunch), regardless of whether or not it contributed ≥50 kcal. Further investigation into ingestive behaviors that may influence the relationship between snacking frequency and weight status is needed.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234355PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7299329PMC
September 2020

Older adults with obesity have higher risks of some micronutrient inadequacies and lower overall dietary quality compared to peers with a healthy weight, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), 2011-2014.

Public Health Nutr 2020 09 29;23(13):2268-2279. Epub 2020 May 29.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN47907, USA.

Objective: To evaluate total usual intakes and biomarkers of micronutrients, overall dietary quality and related health characteristics of US older adults who were overweight or obese compared with a healthy weight.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Two 24-h dietary recalls, nutritional biomarkers and objective and subjective health characteristic data were analysed from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2014. We used the National Cancer Institute method to estimate distributions of total usual intakes from foods and dietary supplements for eleven micronutrients of potential concern and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015 score.

Participants: Older adults aged ≥60 years (n 2969) were categorised by sex and body weight status, using standard BMI categories. Underweight individuals (n 47) were excluded due to small sample size.

Results: A greater percentage of obese older adults compared with their healthy-weight counterparts was at risk of inadequate Mg (both sexes), Ca, vitamin B6 and vitamin D (women only) intakes. The proportion of those with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D < 40 nmol/l was higher in obese (12 %) than in healthy-weight older women (6 %). Mean overall HEI-2015 scores were 8·6 (men) and 7·1 (women) points lower in obese than in healthy-weight older adults. In addition, compared with healthy-weight counterparts, obese older adults were more likely to self-report fair/poor health, use ≥ 5 medications and have limitations in activities of daily living and cardio-metabolic risk factors; and obese older women were more likely to be food-insecure and have depression.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that obesity may coexist with micronutrient inadequacy in older adults, especially among women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980020000257DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429309PMC
September 2020

Total Usual Micronutrient Intakes Compared to the Dietary Reference Intakes among U.S. Adults by Food Security Status.

Nutrients 2019 Dec 22;12(1). Epub 2019 Dec 22.

Interdepartmental Nutrition Program, Purdue University, 700 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

This study examined total usual micronutrient intakes from foods, beverages, and dietary supplements (DS) compared to the Dietary Reference Intakes among U.S. adults (≥19 years) by sex and food security status using NHANES 2011-2014 data ( = 9954). DS data were collected via an in-home interview; the NCI method was used to estimate distributions of total usual intakes from two 24 h recalls for food and beverages, after which DS were added. Food security status was categorized using the USDA Household Food Security Survey Module. Adults living in food insecure households had a higher prevalence of risk of inadequacy among both men and women for magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K; similar findings were apparent for phosphorous, selenium, and zinc in men alone. Meanwhile, no differences in the prevalence of risk for inadequacy were observed for calcium, iron (examined in men only), choline, or folate by food security status. Some DS users, especially food secure adults, had total usual intakes that exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, and iron. In conclusion, while DS can be helpful in meeting nutrient requirements for adults for some micronutrients, potential excess may also be of concern for certain micronutrients among supplement users. In general, food insecure adults have higher risk for micronutrient inadequacy than food secure adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12010038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019721PMC
December 2019

Comparison of 4 Methods to Assess the Prevalence of Use and Estimates of Nutrient Intakes from Dietary Supplements among US Adults.

J Nutr 2020 04;150(4):884-893

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Background: Accurate and reliable methods to assess prevalence of use of and nutrient intakes from dietary supplements (DSs) are critical for research, clinical practice, and public health monitoring. NHANES has been the primary source of DS usage patterns using an in-home inventory with a frequency-based DS and Prescription Medicine Questionnaire (DSMQ), but little is known regarding DS information obtained from 24-h dietary recalls (24HRs).

Methods: The objectives of this analysis were to compare results from 4 different methods for measuring DS use constructed from two data collection instruments (i.e., DSMQ and 24HR) and to determine the most comprehensive method for measuring the prevalence of use and estimating nutrient intakes from DS for selected nutrients. NHANES 2011-2014 data from US adults (aged ≥19 y; n = 11,451) were used to examine the 4 combinations of methods constructed for measuring the prevalence of use of and amount of selected nutrients from DSs (i.e., riboflavin, vitamin D, folate, magnesium, calcium): 1) DSMQ, 2) 24HR day 1, 3) two 24HRs (i.e., mean), and 4) DSMQ or at least one 24HR.

Results: Half of US adults reported DS use on the DSMQ (52%) and on two 24HRs (mean of 49%), as compared with a lower prevalence of DS use when using a single 24HR (43%) and a higher (57%) prevalence when combining the DSMQ with at least one 24HR. Mean nutrient intake estimates were highest using 24HR day 1. Mean supplemental calcium from the DSMQ or at least one 24HR was 372 mg/d, but 464 mg/d on the 24HR only. For vitamin D, the estimated intakes per consumption day were higher on the DSMQ (46 μg) and the DSMQ or at least one 24HR (44 μg) than those on the 24HR day 1 (32 μg) or the mean 24HR (31 μg). Fewer products were also classed as a default or reasonable match on the DSMQ than on the 24HR.

Conclusions: A higher prevalence of use of DSs is obtained using frequency-based methods, whereas higher amounts of nutrients are reported from a 24HR. The home inventory results in greater accuracy for products reported. Collectively, these findings suggest that combining the DSMQ with at least one 24HR (i.e., DSMQ or at least one 24HR) is the most comprehensive method for assessing the prevalence of and estimating usual intake from DSs in US adults.This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03400436.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138661PMC
April 2020

Current Sodium Intakes in the United States and the Modelling of Glutamate's Incorporation into Select Savory Products.

Nutrients 2019 Nov 7;11(11). Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

Most Americans have dietary sodium intakes that far exceed recommendations. Given the association of high sodium with hypertension, strategies to reduce sodium intakes are an important public health target. Glutamates, such as monosodium glutamate, represent a potential strategy to reduce overall intakes while preserving product palatability; therefore, this project aimed to model sodium replacement with glutamates. The National Cancer Institute method was used to estimate current sodium intakes, and intakes resulting from glutamate substitution (25%-45%) in a limited set of food groups for which substitution is possible. Data sets for individuals aged ≥1 year enrolled in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013-2016 ( = 16,183) were used in the analyses. Glutamate substitution in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food codes was modeled by conservatively altering estimates of sodium intake reductions derived from the published, peer-reviewed literature. The addition of glutamates to certain food categories has the potential to reduce the population's sodium intake by approximately 3% overall and by 7%-8% among consumers of ≥1 product category in which glutamates were substituted for sodium chloride. Although using glutamates to substitute the amount of sodium among certain food groups may show modest effects on intakes across the population, it is likely to have a more substantial effect on individuals who consume specific products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu11112691DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893472PMC
November 2019

Best Practices for Dietary Supplement Assessment and Estimation of Total Usual Nutrient Intakes in Population-Level Research and Monitoring.

J Nutr 2019 02;149(2):181-197

School of Medicine, Wake Forest, Winston-Salem, NC.

The use of dietary supplements (DS) is pervasive and can provide substantial amounts of micronutrients to those who use them. Therefore when characterizing dietary intakes, describing the prevalence of inadequacy or excess, or assessing relations between nutrients and health outcomes, it is critical to incorporate DS intakes to improve exposure estimates. Unfortunately, little is known about the best methods to assess DS, and the structure of measurement error in DS reporting. Several characteristics of nutrients from DS are salient to understand when comparing to those in foods. First, DS can be consumed daily or episodically, in bolus form and can deliver discrete and often very high doses of nutrients that are not limited by energy intakes. These characteristics contribute to bimodal distributions and distributions severely skewed to the right. Labels on DS often provide nutrient forms that differ from those found in conventional foods, and underestimate analytically derived values. Finally, the bioavailability of many nutrient-containing DS is not known and it may not be the same as the nutrients in a food matrix. Current methods to estimate usual intakes are not designed specifically to handle DS. Two temporal procedures are described to refer to the order that nutrient intakes are combined relative to usual intake procedures, referred to as a "shrinking" the distribution to remove random error. The "shrink then add" approach is preferable to the "add then shrink" approach when users and nonusers are combined for most research questions. Stratifying by DS before usual intake methods is another defensible option. This review describes how to incorporate nutrient intakes from DS to usual intakes from foods, and describes the available methods and fit-for-purpose of different analytical strategies to address research questions where total usual intakes are of interest at the group level for use in nutrition research and to inform policy decisions. Clinical Trial Registry: NCT03400436.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6374152PMC
February 2019

Dietary Supplement Use among U.S. Children by Family Income, Food Security Level, and Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Status in 2011⁻2014.

Nutrients 2018 Sep 1;10(9). Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

This analysis characterizes use of dietary supplements (DS) and motivations for DS use among U.S. children (≤18 years) by family income level, food security status, and federal nutrition assistance program participation using the 2011⁻2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. About one-third (32%) of children used DS, mostly multivitamin-minerals (MVM; 24%). DS and MVM use were associated with higher family income and higher household food security level. DS use was lowest among children in households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; 20%) and those participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC; 26%) compared to both income-eligible and income-ineligible nonparticipants. Most children who used DS took only one (83%) or two (12%) products; although children in low-income families took fewer products than those in higher income families. The most common motivations for DS and MVM use were to "improve (42% or 46%)" or "maintain (34 or 38%)" health, followed by "to supplement the diet (23 or 24%)" for DS or MVM, respectively. High-income children were more likely to use DS and MVM "to supplement the diet" than middle- or low-income children. Only 18% of child DS users took DS based on a health practitioner's recommendation. In conclusion, DS use was lower among children who were in low-income or food-insecure families, or families participating in nutrition assistance programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu10091212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163871PMC
September 2018

Dietary Supplement Use Differs by Socioeconomic and Health-Related Characteristics among U.S. Adults, NHANES 2011⁻2014.

Nutrients 2018 Aug 17;10(8). Epub 2018 Aug 17.

Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, 700 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of use and types of dietary supplements (DS) used by U.S. adults (≥19 years) by sociodemographic characteristics: family income-to-poverty ratio (PIR), food security status, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation using NHANES 2011⁻2014 data ( = 11,024). DS use was ascertained via a home inventory and a retrospective 30-day questionnaire. Demographic and socioeconomic differences related to DS use were evaluated using a univariate statistic. Half of U.S. adults (52%) took at least one DS during a 30-day period; multivitamin-mineral (MVM) products were the most commonly used (31%). DS and MVM use was significantly higher among those with a household income of ≥ 350% of the poverty level, those who were food secure, and SNAP income-ineligible nonparticipants across all sex, age, and race/ethnic groups. Among women, prevalence of use significantly differed between SNAP participants (39%) and SNAP income-eligible nonparticipants (54%). Older adults (71+ years) remained the highest consumers of DS, specifically among the highest income group (82%), while younger adults (19⁻30 years), predominantly in the lowest income group (28%), were the lowest consumers. Among U.S. adults, DS use and the types of products consumed varied with income, food security, and SNAP participation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu10081114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116059PMC
August 2018

Sources of Added Sugars in Young Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Low and High Intakes of Added Sugars.

Nutrients 2018 Jan 17;10(1). Epub 2018 Jan 17.

The Sugar Association, Inc., 1300 L Street, NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005, USA.

High intake of added sugars is associated with excess energy intake and poorer diet quality. The objective of this cross-sectional study ( = 16,806) was to estimate usual intakes and the primary food sources of added sugars across the range of intakes (i.e., deciles) among U.S. children (2-8 years), adolescents and teens (9-18 years), and adults (≥19 years) using the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) data from 2009-2012. The percent energy contributed by added sugars was 14.3 ± 0.2% (2-8 years), 16.2 ± 0.2% (9-18 years), and 13.1 ± 0.2% (≥19 years), suggesting the highest intakes are among adolescents and teens. However, the primary foods/beverages that contribute to added sugars were remarkably consistent across the range of intakes, with the exception of the lowest decile, and include sweetened beverages and sweet bakery products. Interestingly across all age groups, even those in the lowest decile of added sugars exceed the 10% guidelines. Additional foods contributing to high intakes were candy and other desserts (e.g., ice cream) in children and adolescents, and coffee and teas in adults. Tailoring public health messaging to reduce intakes of these identified food groups may be of utility in designing effective strategies to reduce added sugar intake in the U.S.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu10010102DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793330PMC
January 2018