Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Roy E. Beauchene

Committee Members

Bernadine Meyer, Jane R. Savage, Rossie L. Mason


The purposes of this study were to evaluate the diets of preschool children in selected kindergartens of Knox County, Tennessee; to determine the bone densities and other parameters of growth of these children; and to study the relationships that exist between diet and these measurements.

The subjects for the study were 142 children enrolled in four Head Start centers and two private preschools in the Knoxville area. Height, weight, and bone density measurements of the phalanx 5-2 were determined for the children, and seven-day dietary records were obtained for them. The bone density measurements were done by the direct scan technique using x-rays. Food records were kept in terms of common household measures and were later converted to grams. Individual nutrients including calories, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid were calculated by computer.

Results of the study showed that the Head Start lunches provided more than the required 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for preschool children, but the lunches of a private preschool made much smaller contributions to the total day's intake. Of all the children in the study, 35.3% had daily intakes of less than 2/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of one or more nutrients. Other children might have fallen into this category had they not been taking vitamin or iron supplements. Iron was the nutrient most often deficient in the diets of these children and calcium and niacin ranked second and third, respectively.

Bone density values ranged from 0.50 to 0.96 gram equivalents per cubic centimeter of bone with a mean value of 0.69. There was no difference between the mean bone density of the boys and that of the girls and no significant difference between the mean bone densities of Head Start and private preschool children. Correlations between bone density values and levels of calcium and ascorbic acid intake were not significant. A significant correlation existed between weight and bone density for boys, but not for girls.

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