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Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):600-10. Epub 2007 Apr 20.

Energy and nutrient intakes by pre-school children in Flanders-Belgium.

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Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate energy and nutrient intakes in pre-school children in Flanders-Belgium, using multistage clustered sampling. Diets of 661 children (338 boys; 323 girls) between 2.5 and 6.5 years old were assessed, with parentally reported 3 d estimated diet records. Usual energy and nutrient intakes were compared with national and international recommendations. Statistical modelling was used to account for within-individual variation. Mean daily energy intakes (boys, 6543 kJ; girls, 5757 kJ) approached the estimated energy requirements (EER) (boys, 6040 kJ; girls, 5798 kJ) for children < 4 years old. For children at least 4 years old, mean energy intakes (boys, 6408 kJ; girls, 5914 kJ) were below the EER of 6995 and 6740 kJ/d, respectively. Mean energy percentage (en%) derived from saturated fatty acids (SFA) (13-14 en%) was above the acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR) upper level of 12 en%. Mean percentages derived from MUFA (10-11 en%) and PUFA (4-5 en%) were below the AMDR lower levels of 12 and 8 en%, respectively. For fibre, iron and vitamin D intakes, < 15 % of the children reached the recommended dietary allowances. Everybody exceeded the tolerable upper intake levels for sodium. Although diets in Belgian children were adequate in most nutrients, the implications of low iron, vitamin D and fibre intakes should be investigated. Furthermore, this affluent diet, characterised by SFA, MUFA and PUFA intakes differing from the recommendations and excessive sodium intakes, might increase the risk for CVD in later life.

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