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Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;62(1):75-9. doi: 10.1159/000343785. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Lunch habits of German children and adolescents: composition and dietary quality.

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Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany.



Data from the ongoing, open-cohort Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) study were used to describe warm family lunch meals and the association of the lunch composition with total diet quality.


2,095 three-day weighed dietary records, collected between 2004 and 2009, from a 4- to 18-year-old DONALD study subgroup were used.


Warm lunch (eating occasions between 11.30 a.m. and 2.29 p.m. including at least one course that is typically consumed warm) was eaten on 68.8% of all record days. Meat lunch (>50%) was predominant, followed by vegetarian (25%), fish (13%) and sweet lunch meals (3%). The prevalence of desserts at lunch was high and beverages were drunk at 80% of lunch meals. A meat lunch was associated with a higher protein (+1.4% energy intake, %E) and fat intake (+1.7%E) than a sweet lunch; also densities of vitamin A, folate and iron were higher. A dessert at lunch decreased protein intake slightly (-0.2%E), but increased carbohydrate (+0.7%E) and added sugar intake (+1.4%E) as well as density of calcium (+18 mg/MJ).


Our study proves the impact of lunch on daily dietary quality and yields valuable insights on the development of food and meal-based dietary guidelines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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