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J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Feb;98(2):159-64.

Food consumption patterns of elementary schoolchildren in New York City.

Author information

  • 1Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Adult Health, New York State Department of Health, 565 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237-0679, USA.



To examine food consumption patterns and related characteristics of schoolchildren.


A representative survey involving a household questionnaire and child interview to conduct a nonquantitative 24-hour dietary recall. Indexes were developed to score the diets based on the Food Guide Pyramid and 5 A Day for Better Health recommendations.


Six hundred ninety-three 2nd-grade students and 704 5th-grade students from public and private schools in New York City.


Weighted means and gender-adjusted analysis of covariance models were used to account for a complex survey design in calculating variance estimates.


Compared with a maximum of 50, the mean Food Guide Pyramid index score was 29.2 for 2nd-grade students and 30.4 for 5th-grade students. The mean 5 A Day consumption score was 3.4 and 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for 2nd and 5th graders, respectively. Measures of food consumption were significantly related to socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, skipping meals, and participating in school lunch for both grades, and with meal preparation for 5th graders.


The Food Guide Pyramid and 5 A Day recommendations provide guidelines for food selection beginning in childhood. Knowledge and skills training are needed to improve food consumption patterns as children consume foods away from home and as they take on greater responsibility for meal preparation and food selection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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