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1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
What children eat is important both for their health now and for their risk of chronic non communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, in the future. The diets of 1,121 children (aged 9 y, n=552) and adolescents (aged 15 y, n=569) were assessed by an interviewer mediated 24-hour recall, as part of the European Youth Heart Study. Group macronutrient intakes and their food sources were described, and dietary energy density (ED) and breakfast habits were employed as markers of dietary quality. The effect of socioeconomic status on these markers was investigated. The adequacy of energy-reporting in this population was also tested. The diets were close to population nutrition goals of most macronutrients, but fat, saturated fat and sucrose provided more than the recommended amounts of dietary energy (>30%, 10% and 10% of energy, respectively) in all age and gender groups. Consumption of energy dense, nutrient poor food groups (sweetened drinks, sweets and chocolate, cakes and biscuits, chips and crisps, and desserts) was prevalent, and these foods contributed significant amounts to energy, fat and sucrose intakes. Dietary ED was investigated as a potentially useful marker of total diet quality and decreasing ED was found to be significantly negatively associated with these food groups, but positively with fruit, vegetables, cereals, pasta rice and potatoes, and high fibre bread. Breakfast consumption was relatively high, but was lower in adolescents, especially in girls. Group energy reporting was lowest in overweight, female and older groups. Higher socioeconomic status was associated with healthier breakfasts in children, and tended towards a significant association with lower energy density in all. The burden of chronic diseases on public health is unlikely to improve until the diets of children and adolescents can be improved sustainably. This study provides valuable for public health nutrition planning in Sweden.
Patterson, E. (2008). Dietary intakes of Swedish children and adolescents: the European heart study. Masters dissertation. Technological University Dublin. doi:10.21427/D7W90C