The 'age+5' rule: comparisons of dietary fiber intake among 4- to 10-year-old children.J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Dec; 98(12):1418-23.JA
To determine children's sources of dietary fiber and to identify the food group choices made by those who met the "age+5" rule, which recommends that children daily consume an amount of fiber that is equal to their age plus an additional 5 g fiber.
This study used 24-hour dietary recalls and 1-day food records to assess the nutrient intake and food group choices of children who did and did not meet the recommendations of the age+5 rule.
The 1989-1991 US Department of Agriculture Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals provided the study sample of 603 children between the ages of 4 and 6 years and 782 children between the ages of 7 and 10 years.
Differences in nutrient and food group intakes between age categories were determined by t tests.
Only 45% of 4- to 6-year-olds and 32% of 7- to 10-year-olds consumed adequate fiber to meet the age+5 rule. Those who met the age+5 rule did so by consuming significantly more high- and low-fiber breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Children with low fiber intakes had significantly higher energy-adjusted intakes of fat and cholesterol, whereas those who met the age+5 rule had significantly higher energy-adjusted intakes of dietary fiber, vitamins A and E, folate, magnesium, and iron.
The majority of the children had low intakes of dietary fiber, suggesting that they are at risk for future chronic disease. Parents and school foodservice personnel should strive to offer fiber-rich foods to children so their acceptance and consumption of them will be increased.