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Public Health Nutr. 2010 Aug;13(8):1286-94. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009992175. Epub 2009 Dec 8.

Sugar and fat intake among children in Scotland: what is needed to reach the dietary targets?

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Population Health Section, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.



To assess the intake and sources of non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) and fat among children in Scotland in relation to socio-economic status, and to estimate the changes in diet required to achieve recommended levels of intake.


Cross-sectional survey with diet assessed by semi-quantitative FFQ.


Eighty postcode sectors across Scotland.


Children (n 1398) aged 3-17 years recruited from the Child Benefit register (76 % of those contacted).


The mean intake of NMES of 17.4 (95 % CI 17.0, 17.8) % food energy was considerably higher than the UK recommended population average of 11 % food energy. The mean intake of total fat of 32.9 (95 % CI 32.7, 33.2) % food energy met the recommended population average of no more than 35 % food energy, while the mean intake of SFA of 13.8 (95 % CI 13.7, 14.0) % food energy was above the recommended population average of no more than 11 % food energy. Despite clear socio-economic gradients in the mean daily consumption of many 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' food groups, socio-economic differences in NMES as a percentage of food energy were limited and there was no significant variation in the intake of total fat or SFA as a percentage of food energy with socio-economic status. Modelling of the data showed that removing sugar-sweetened soft drinks and increasing fruit and vegetable intake by 50 % would not restore the intake of NMES and SFA to recommended levels.


Major changes in the intake of many food groups will be required to bring the NMES and saturated fat intake in line with current dietary recommendations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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