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West J Med. 2000 Dec;173(6):378-83.

US adolescent food intake trends from 1965 to 1996.

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  • 1Nestl√© Research Center, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • West J Med 2001 Oct;175(4):235.



To examine adolescent food consumption trends in the United States with important chronic disease implications.


Analysis of dietary intake data from 4 nationally representative US Department of Agriculture surveys of persons aged 11 to 18 years (n = 12,498).


From 1965 to 1996, a considerable shift occurred in the adolescent diet. Total energy intake decreased, as did the proportion of energy from total fat (39%-32%) and saturated fat (15%-12%). Concurrent increases occurred in the consumption of higher-fat potatoes and mixed dishes (pizza and macaroni and cheese). Lower-fat milks replaced higher-fat milks, but total milk consumption decreased by 36%. This decrease was accompanied by an increase in the consumption of soft drinks and noncitrus juices. An increase in high-fat potato consumption led to an increase in vegetable intake, but the number of servings for fruits and vegetables is still lower than the recommended 5 per day. Iron, folic acid, and calcium intakes continue to be below those recommended for girls.


These trends, far greater than for US adults, may compromise the health of the future US population.

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