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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jul;62(7):866-71. Epub 2007 May 30.

Snacks are important for fat and vitamin intakes among rural African women: a cross-sectional study from Malawi.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, Frederiksberg, Denmark.



To estimate the contribution of energy and selected nutrients from foods eaten as snacks and as meals.


Forty-four nonpregnant women in the reproductive age, of whom 20 were lactating, participated in this study. Women from rural households were randomly selected and energy and nutrient intakes were estimated using 2 days' observed weighed food record. Snacks eaten between meals were estimated by weighed food record as well as recall, thrice per day.


The largest proportions (mean+/-s.e.) of fat (33+/-3.6%), vitamin C (36+/-4.1%) and a large proportion of vitamin A (30+/-4.4%) intakes were from snacks. Furthermore, snacks provided 20% of the energy intakes.


Snacks are important for energy and nutrient intakes and adequacies in rural African women and have the potential to combat energy and nutrient deficiencies in low-income countries.

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