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Nutr Res. 2009 May;29(5):335-42. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2009.05.003.

Ready-to-eat cereals are key sources of selected micronutrients among schoolchildren from public and private elementary schools in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

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Center for Studies of Sensory Impairment, Aging and Metabolism, Guatemala City 01011, Guatemala.


This cross-sectional dietary survey aimed to assess the consumption and relative nutrient contribution of ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC) among schoolchildren from 2 social classes in an urban center in the Guatemalan province of Quetzaltenango. A total of 449 24-hour dietary records were collected using a pictorial workbook registry method among third- and fourth-grade schoolchildren. The sample population was divided between low-income, public school attendants (n = 219) and students from higher-income private institutions (n = 230). We described the contribution of RTEC to estimated total energy; carbohydrates; protein; fat; vitamins A, C, and D; thiamin; riboflavin; folate; calcium; iron; and zinc over the 24-hour interval of registry. Approximately 41% of the subjects mentioned RTEC at least once in their 24-hour record; 93% of these at breakfast time. From the 7 RTEC varieties reported, 4 were presweetened. Estimated cereal consumption was significantly higher among private school participants (P < .001). The RTEC contributed 2.4% of estimated total energy across the whole sample and 3.6% of total carbohydrate; iron intake from RTEC was 21% of total, whereas less than 1% of calcium intake came from this source. Among the subgroup of cereal consumers, RTEC accounted for more than 40% of their daily recommendation intake for iron, vitamin C, thiamin, and riboflavin. The RTEC consumers had significantly higher intakes for all nutrients except carbohydrate and riboflavin as compared with nonconsumers. This study demonstrates the importance of RTEC as a key source of several selected micronutrients to schoolchildren's diet in this setting.

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