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Drink consumption in British preschool children: relation to vitamin C, iron and calcium intakes

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To examine the impact of soft drinks, fruit juices, milk and tea consumption on vitamin C, iron and calcium intakes in a large, representative sample of preschool children in the UK. Design

Secondary analysis of 4-day weighed dietary diaries. Sample

1675 children aged 1.5–4.5 years living in the UK in 1992/993. Results

Fruit juice consumers, but not soft drink consumers, had higher vitamin C intakes and higher plasma ascorbate levels than nonconsumers (P < 0.001). However, overall intakes tended to exceed the RNI and 45% of children still had adequate intakes without the contribution of soft drinks and 56% without the contribution of fruit juice. Children who did not consume fruit juice or soft drinks were no more likely to have depleted levels of vitamin C than consumers. Tea drinkers had diets which were lower in iron and vitamin C than nonconsumers (P < 0.005). They had lower levels of haemoglobin (P < 0.05) but not ferritin. Children under 4 years old were less likely to meet the RNI for iron if they were tea drinkers (P < 0.005) but no more likely to be anaemic. Calcium intakes were significantly higher for whole milk consumers than for nonconsumers (P < 0.005) and 73% of overall calcium intake was predicted by quantity of all milks consumed. Whole milk consumers both under and over 4 years of age were significantly more likely to reach the RNI for calcium (P < 0.00005 and P < 0.05). Conclusions

Preschool children’s drinking has an impact on their intakes of vitamin C, iron and calcium. In particular, intakes of calcium are closely linked to the amount of milk consumed in this age group.

Keywords: beverages; calcium; iron; nutrition; preschool children; vitamin C

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Royal Free and University College London Medical School, 1–19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6 BT, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2000


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