Longitudinal study of nutrient and food intakes of white preschool children aged 24 to 60 months.J Am Diet Assoc 1999; 99(12):1514-21JA
To determine nutrient and food intakes of 72 white preschool children primarily from families of middle and upper socioeconomic status and to compare children's nutrient intakes with current recommendations.
Six in-home interviews were conducted with mothers when children were 24 to 60 months old; at each time mothers provided 3 days of dietary information on the child. Children and mothers independently provided information on the child's favorite and least favorite foods at 42 and 54 months.
Preschool children (24 to 60 months old) participating in a longitudinal study.
Mean nutrient intakes were compared with the most recent Recommended Dietary Allowances/Adequate Intakes. Differences over time were tested with repeated-measures analysis of variance; gender differences were determined with t tests. Food frequencies (i.e., percentage of children consuming specific foods) were determined from dietary recalls and food records. Dietary variety was assessed with the Variety Index for Toddlers or the Variety Index for Children.
Means were consistently less than the RDA/AI for energy, zinc, folate, and vitamins D and E. Energy, carbohydrate, and fat intakes were highest (P < or = .01) at 60 months. Boys consumed more (P < or = .05) protein (10 g), calcium (197 mg), magnesium (35 mg), and pantothenic acid (0.8 mg) at 60 months than did girls. Foods most commonly eaten were fruit drink, carbonated beverages, 2% milk, and french fries. The vegetable group consistently had the lowest variety scores; vegetables also dominated least favorite foods lists.
Parents need to be encouraged to include more sources of zinc, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin D in children's diets. Parents should also encourage their children to eat more vegetables, zinc- and folate-fortified cereals, lean red meats, seafood, vegetable oils, and low-fat milk.