Comparison of dietary intakes of 7-year-old children enrolled in observational birth cohort studies on the isle of man and in south-west England

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Abstract

There is concern regarding the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed and high sugar intakes in children’s diets. Regional dietary differences in the British Isles could underlie variations in health outcomes, but little is known about these differences. Our aim was to compare diets of children enrolled in observational birth cohort studies in the Isle of Man (IoM-ELSPAC) and in south-west England (ALSPAC). Dietary intakes were assessed by 3-day food records in IoM and ALSPAC at an age of 7 years. Comparisons of mean daily nutrient, and food and food group intakes were made between the studies and with UK national dietary guidelines. Diets in both regions were adequate for most nutrients except dietary fibre, but in both groups intake of free sugars was three times higher than the UK recommended maximum. There were differences between the two regions, particularly higher energy, protein, and carbohydrate intakes in IoM. IoM children consumed greater amounts of red meat, bread, full-fat milk, and sugar-sweetened drinks. IoM children had higher intakes of energy and some nutrients and food groups than ALSPAC children, and similar low intakes of fruits and vegetables. Children’s diets in both regions could be improved, particularly considering the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and the UK recommendation to lower the intake of free sugars.

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Tweney, E. M., Emmett, P. M., Golding, J., Goodfellow, S., & Taylor, C. M. (2017). Comparison of dietary intakes of 7-year-old children enrolled in observational birth cohort studies on the isle of man and in south-west England. Nutrients, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9070724

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