To determine dietary fiber intake of children and young adults.
Cross-sectional surveys of children and young adults in Bogalusa, La.
Twenty-four-hour dietary recalls were collected from 1976 to 1988 on five cohorts of 10-year-olds (n = 1,254), two cohorts of 13-year-olds (n = 360), and young adults (n = 504) 19 to 28 years of age.
Dietary fiber intake data were analyzed for age, race, and gender differences and for secular trends. Descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated where appropriate. Dietary composition and food sources were examined for race-specific and gender-specific quartiles for dietary fiber intake adjusted per 1,000 kcal.
Even after adjusting for energy intake, total dietary fiber intake remained unchanged from 1976 to 1988, averaging 12 g or 5 g/1,000 kcal. Blacks and males had higher total fiber intakes than whites and females at all ages. Consumption of vegetables and soups and breads and grains accounted for 53% (10-year-olds) to 70% (13-year-olds) of the total fiber consumed. When children were stratified into quartiles on the basis of fiber intake per 1,000 kcal, the percentage of energy from total fat and saturated fat was lower, and the percentage of energy from carbohydrate was higher, in children with higher fiber intakes per 1,000 kcal.
Dietary fiber intake of children has remained the same in the past 12 years and is comparable with the intake of young adults, which is well below the recommended level. Children with high fiber intakes (upper quartile) consumed less fat, particularly saturated fat, and more carbohydrate than children with low fiber intakes. Increasing consumption of whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (prepared with minimal added fat) will be necessary to reach the goal of optimal fiber intake and could result in an eating pattern that approaches the current recommendations for dietary fat and saturated fat.