Diet is an important component of diabetes treatment and integral to successful management. While intensive insulin therapy can allow patients to eat more freely, it is not known how the rapid uptake of intensive therapy in young children with type 1 diabetes has impacted their diet and if diet and healthful eating in young children correlates with mealtime behaviors and glycemic control. This study examined diet, mealtime behaviors, and glucose control in a sample of 39 young children on intensive therapy. This was a one-sample, cross-sectional study. Children had a mean age of 5.1±1.1 years. Children’s 3-day diet diaries were assessed using a deviation scale (measure of adherence) and a healthy eating index. Mealtime behaviors were assessed using the Behavioral Pediatric Feeding Assessment Scale. Children’s glucose control was measured using continuous glucose monitoring. Children’s mean carbohydrate intake was 72%±24% of the recommended levels based on their age, sex, size, and activity level, and children exceeded national guidelines for percentage of calories from fat and saturated fat. A more healthful diet correlated with fewer child mealtime behavior problems, but better dietary adherence correlated with more parent mealtime behavior problems. Even in the context of intensive management, diet can be problematic for young children with type 1 diabetes. Parent-reported problems with mealtime behaviors seem to correlate with healthy eating and dietary adherence.
Keywords: Nutrition, Adherence, Child, preschool, Diabetic, Diet