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Br J Nutr. 2005 Nov;94(5):825-31.

Whole-grain intake of British young people aged 4-18 years.

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  • 1MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK.


Inverse associations between whole-grain food consumption and risk of CVD, some cancers and type 2 diabetes have been reported. However, there are few reports of whole-grain intake, particularly among young people. The objective of the present study was to estimate whole-grain intake in a nationally representative sample of young people aged 4-18 years living in Great Britain. Whole-grain intake was estimated using 7 d weighed dietary records from 1583 young people who participated in the cross-sectional National Diet and Nutrition Survey in 1997. Whole-grain intake was quantified from the consumption of all foods containing > or =10 % whole-grain content. Median whole-grain intake was 7 g/d (interquartile range 0-19 g/d), with a corresponding mean of 13 (sd 18) g/d. Intake was significantly lower among young people whose head of household had a manual occupation, but did not differ significantly by sex, age, region or season. There was no whole-grain intake for 27 % of participants. The percentages for less than one and less than three 16 g amounts of whole-grain intake per d were 70 and 94, respectively, while corresponding percentages based on 20 g amounts were 76 and 97. Foods with <51 % whole-grain content provided 28 % of whole-grain intake overall, with a higher percentage in older adolescents. The main sources of whole-grain intake were breakfast cereals (56 %) and bread (25 %). The present study provides the first quantification of absolute whole-grain intake from all significant food sources in any representative age group in the UK. Although there is some debate regarding the quantity of whole grains required for good health, whole-grain intake among British young people is low.

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