July 2010

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Public Health and Preventive Medicine


Oregon Health & Science University


Background French fries (fries," french-fried potatoes," or pommes frites) are the most common vegetable fed to 15 to 24 month olds in the United States, yet are energy dense and a fat-laden food. French fries are part of a socioeconomic pattern of poor diets, inactivity and obesity. The prevalence of french fry consumption will be estimated and risk factors evaluated. Methods The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a population level surveillance project and PRAMS-2 is its longitudinal follow-back survey. The Oregon birth year cohort of 2005 is used (n=1046). Weighted analyses were conducted to estimate the prevalence of french fry consumption and to identify significant risk factors, and then create a multivariate model. Results Overall, 67% of 2 year olds in Oregon in 2007 consumed french fries in a typical week at least once. French fry consumption varied among maternal race/ethnicity groups (p<0.01). Markers of low socioeconomic status were significantly associated with consumption of french fries. In a multivariate model, consumption of french fries was associated with no breastfeeding at 10 weeks of age (adjusted OR=1.95 95% CI: 1.16{3.41), non-normal maternal BMI (p=0.02), unintended pregnancy (aOR=1.72, 95% CI: 1.00{2.93), and partner-related stress (aOR=2.06 95% CI: 1.16{3.65). Conclusions French fry consumption is very common in two year olds, and is related to maternal BMI, maternal partner-related stress, lack of breastfeeding, and pregnancy intention. French fry consumption may be part of a larger socioeconomic context and dietary pattern that is associated with increased BMI, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. This thesis is notable for its longitudinal nature and representative sampling method, but is limited by potential unmeasured and residual confounding. Traditional maternal health programs should continue to intervene in the prevention of unhealthy maternal weights and of unintended pregnancy, and should continue efforts at encouraging breastfeeding. Potential policy responses include limiting marketing to children, in addition to encouraging providers to educate parents about age appropriate healthy diets.




School of Medicine



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