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Portion size selection of fruits and vegetables by 9- to 10-year-old children in Liverpool

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Abstract Background 

It is important to promote the intake of fruit and vegetables but it is not clear how children interpret the term ‘portion’. The aim of this study was to describe portion sizes of various fruits and vegetables selected by primary school children. Methods 

A cross-sectional study collected data on children’s self-selected portions of fruits and vegetables. Forty-three boys and 52 girls aged 9–10 years attending after school food clubs in Liverpool took part. Children placed a ‘portion’ of each fruit and vegetable into an empty bowl which was weighed using digital scales accurate to 1 g. Results 

Mean portion sizes ranged from 126 g for satsumas to 61 g for peas but there were no significant differences between boys and girls. Portions of fruits were larger than portions of vegetables and although there were statistically significant correlations between the portion sizes selected by individual children they were not particularly strong. Conclusions 

These children had all taken part in activities promoting ‘5-a-day’ but their perception of ‘a portion’ varied enormously. It is recommended that children receive targeted activities to help them improve their understanding of what constitutes a ‘portion’.

Keywords: children; fruit and vegetables; portion size

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Dietetics, Liverpool Primary Care Trust, Abercromby Health Centre, Liverpool, UK 2: Liverpool John Moores University, IM Marsh Campus, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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