Diet in a group of 18-month-old children in South West England, and comparison with the results of a national survey

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To investigate the normal range of nutrient intakes and food consumption patterns in 18-month-old children. Subjects

1026 children resident in South West England, forming part of the Children in Focus (CIF) research cohort. Methods

Diet was assessed using a 3-day unweighed dietary record. Nutrient and food intakes were compared with the dietary reference values and with the results of a British survey of preschool children – the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS). Results

Intakes of energy and nearly all nutrients were significantly higher in boys than in girls. Intakes of energy were slightly above the estimated average requirements. For most nutrients the mean and median intakes were well above the Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNI). The exceptions were vitamin D, iron and zinc. Nutrient intakes in CIF were very similar to those in the NDNS except for carotene, calcium, vitamin D and iodine, where intakes were considerably higher in CIF, and sugar intake which was lower in CIF. Intakes of most foods were similar in the two surveys. However, consumption of milk, yoghurt and fromage frais and baby foods was higher in CIF, intakes of most fruit and vegetables was somewhat higher, and intakes of savoury snacks and sugar confectionery were lower. In addition, there were differences between the two groups in the types of meat and meat products consumed. Conclusions

These children are unlikely to be deficient in any nutrients, with the possible exceptions of iron, zinc and vitamin D. The use of vitamin D supplements and the inclusion of iron- and zinc-rich foods in the diets of preschool children should be encouraged. These data will be important in assessing the influence of early diet on subsequent health and development.

Keywords: diet; energy; food groups; iron; preschool children; reporting bias; vitamin D; zinc

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Unit of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, University of Bristol, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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