Objective: Despite recommendations to consume iron-, calcium-, and vitamin C-rich foods for managing blood lead levels (BLLs), limited evidence exists on how specific foods affect children's BLLs. Using data from 12- to 36-month olds (n = 992) from the 2009 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we assessed how foods rich in these nutrients associate with BLLs, and with potential inadvertent exposures to cadmium and mercury. Methods: Food intake was assessed from one 24-hour dietary recall. Foods were categorized into 10 energy-adjusted groups, with intake categorized as none (reference) and tertiles. BLLs were natural log-transformed. Linear regressions tested associations between food groups and BLLs. Logistic regressions were conducted for blood cadmium and mercury. Results: Median (5%, 95% range) BLLs were 1.01 (0.39, 3.21) µg/dL. Majority of food groups (7 of 10) showed little association with BLLs. Compared to no intake, cereal (tertile 3: β [95% confidence interval] = −0.22 [−0.41, −0.02]) and milk (Ptrend < 0.002; nonsignificant tertiles) consumption was associated with lower BLLs. Meat (tertile 2: 0.23 [0.01, 0.45]) and fruit drink (tertile 2: 0.20 [0.03, 0.38]; tertile 3: 0.25 [0.02, 0.49]) intake was associated with higher BLLs. Fruit drink consumption was associated with lower likelihood of having blood cadmium >0.11 µg/dL (tertile 3: odds ratio: 0.05 [0.01, 0.36]). No associations were observed with blood mercury. Conclusions: Among young children, consumption of iron-, calcium-, and vitamin C-rich foods showed weak or no association with BLLs. Few associations were observed for blood cadmium or mercury. Food-based approaches to BLL management may have limited utility when exposure is low.
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Apr 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial statement: This project was funded from a pilot grant from the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (PI: Kordas).
© 2020 Academic Pediatric Association
- blood lead
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health