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Composition of diet in relation to fat intake of children aged 1–7 years

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Very little data are available on the diet of Finnish pre-school children from the last decade. In this study, food consumption data for 77 1–7-year-old Finnish children were collected by means of 3-day estimated food records. In the younger age group (<4 years), on average 15% of total energy was supplied by protein, 36% by fat, 49% by carbohydrates and 14% by sucrose. In the older age group (≥4 years), the proportions were 15%, 34%, 51% and 17%, respectively. Compared with the Nordic nutrition recommendations, the average proportions of fat and sucrose were too high and those of carbohydrate too low. Intakes of vitamins and minerals met or exceeded the recommended allowances, except for iron in the younger age group, and vitamin D in both age groups. Energy and nutrient intakes were compared among children with different proportions of fat in their diet (less than 30%, 30–34%, 35–39%, 40% or more of total energy). There was no difference in the energy intake per kg of body weight between the fat intake groups, and with respect to vitamin and mineral intakes the only differences were in the intakes of vitamin C and selenium. Only in the lowest fat intake group were the proportions of fat, saturated fatty acids and carbohydrates and the intake of cholesterol in accordance with or close to the recommendations. The results of this study support the growing evidence of the nutritional adequacy of a balanced, low-fat diet for pre-school children.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Nutrition, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 1996-06-01

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