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J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Apr;108(4):718-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.01.014.

Dietary intakes in North Carolina child-care centers: are children meeting current recommendations?

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  • 1Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7426, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether food consumed by children while in center-based child care meets the new MyPyramid food group recommendations for children 2 to 5 years of age. Dietary observation of 117 children from 20 child-care centers throughout North Carolina was conducted. The type and amount of food served to and consumed by children was observed and assessed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDS-R) software (version 2005, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). Portion sizes were then compared to the new MyPyramid food group recommendations to see whether 1/2 to 2/3 (for time spent in full-day child care) of the recommended amounts were consumed. On average, of the five main food groups, children consumed only the 1/2 to 2/3 recommendation for milk. Children also consumed less than 13% of MyPyramid recommendations for whole grains and 7% of MyPyramid recommendations for dark vegetables. Also noteworthy, 50% of milk consumed was whole milk and 75% of the meat consumed was of the high-fat or fried variety. Overall, our data suggest that children are not consuming recommended amounts of whole grains, fruits (excluding 100% fruit juice), or vegetables while attending full-time child care, and are consuming excess amounts of saturated fat and added sugar.

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