Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships between selected nutritional factors and blood lead levels of preschool children.

Methodology. Data on 296 children, aged 9 to 72 months, who were cared for at the University of Maryland at Baltimore Pediatric Ambulatory Center were examined in this cross-sectional study. Nutritional status, socioeconomic aspects, medical history, and potential sources of lead exposure were assessed. Blood samples were evaluated for levels of blood lead, serum iron (ferritin), free erythrocyte photoporphyrin, calcium, and hematocrit.

Results. The average blood lead level was 11.4 µg/dL. Multicollinearity of nutritional factors was addressed using regression techniques. After adjusting for confounders, significant positive associations with blood lead were found for total caloric intake (P = .01) and dietary fat (P = .05).

Conclusions. The findings of this study suggest that even when behavioral and environmental exposures to lead were statistically controlled, total caloric intake and dietary fat each had an independent and significant association with the level of blood lead.

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