A suggested approach for imputation of missing dietary data for young children in daycare

June Stevens, Fang Shu Ou, Kimberly P. Truesdale, Donglin Zeng, Amber E. Vaughn, Charlotte Pratt, Dianne S. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Parent-reported 24-h diet recalls are an accepted method of estimating intake in young children. However, many children eat while at childcare making accurate proxy reports by parents difficult. Objective: The goal of this study was to demonstrate a method to impute missing weekday lunch and daytime snack nutrient data for daycare children and to explore the concurrent predictive and criterion validity of the method. Design: Datawere from children aged 2-5 years in theMy Parenting SOS project (n=308; 870 24-h diet recalls). Mixed models were used to simultaneously predict breakfast, dinner, and evening snacks (B+D+ES); lunch; and daytime snacks for all children after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index (BMI). From these models, we imputed the missing weekday daycare lunches by interpolation using the mean lunch to B+D+ES [L/(B+D+ES)] ratio among non-daycare children on weekdays and the L/(B+D+ES) ratio for all children on weekends. Daytime snack data were used to impute snacks. Results: The reported mean (±standard deviation) weekday intake was lower for daycare children [725 (±324) kcal] compared to non-daycare children [1,048 (±463) kcal]. Weekend intake for all children was 1,173 (±427) kcal. After imputation, weekday caloric intake for daycare children was 1,230 (±409) kcal. Daily intakes that included imputed data were associated with age and sex but not with BMI. Conclusion: This work indicates that imputation is a promising method for improving the precision of daily nutrient data from young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28626
JournalFood and Nutrition Research
StatePublished - Dec 17 2015


  • Children
  • Daycare
  • Methods
  • Missing data
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'A suggested approach for imputation of missing dietary data for young children in daycare'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this