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J Paediatr Child Health. 2018 May;54(5):563-571. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13815. Epub 2018 Jan 13.

Macronutrient and fibre intake of young Spanish children with reference to their in utero growth status: Are they eating a healthy diet?

Author information

BCNatal - Barcelona Center for Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, The August Pi I Sunyer, Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Nutrition and Food Science Department, XaRTA, INSA, Pharmacy Faculty, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Pontifical Javeriana University, Cali, Colombia.
Centre for Biomedical Research on Rare Diseases (CIBER-ER), Barcelona, Spain.
Growth in Health Research, Barcelona, Spain.



To compare macronutrient and fibre intake by pre-school children born with intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) or as appropriate for gestational age (AGA) and to compare their intake with paediatric nutritional recommendations for identification of potential areas of modification during early life.


A parental 3-day dietary record was obtained for children of age 1-6 years, born at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain (2002-2007) with IUGR (n = 37) or AGA (n = 53). Mean nutrient intake (adjusted for body mass index), nutrient adequacy ratios (NAR) and percentage of energy intake (EI%) were compared.


Macronutrient and fibre intake of the two groups did not differ significantly. However, IUGR children showed significantly higher than the recommended levels of protein EI% (18 (95% confidence interval (CI) 16-19)), NAR for saturated fatty acids (SFAs) (1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.5)) and NAR for carbohydrate (1.4 (95% CI 1.2-1.6)) and significantly lower than the recommended levels of NAR for unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8)) and for fibre (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8)). Likewise, children born with AGA showed similar pattern compared to the recommended levels for protein EI% (17 (95% CI 16-18)), NAR for SFAs (1.3 (95% CI 1.2-1.4)), NAR for UFAs (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.7)) and NAR for fibre (0.8 (95% CI 0.7-0.9)).


Spanish pre-school children consume proteins and SFAs in abundance and UFAs and fibre in moderation. Reinforcement of healthy eating is recommended for long-term health benefits, especially for at-risk children born with IUGR, whose consumption of carbohydrate is additionally greater than that recommended.


Spain; early childhood; fibre; in utero growth status; protein; saturated fat


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