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Am J Public Health. 1994 May;84(5):799-806.

Dietary sources of fats and cholesterol in US children aged 2 through 5 years.

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Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.



This study of lipid intakes among preschool children (1) analyzed the contributions of 38 food groups to fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intakes; (2) estimated the effects of food substitutions on intakes; and (3) examined demographic differences in food group intake and food group sources of these lipids.


The sample consisted of 547 children, aged 2 to 5 years, from the US Department of Agriculture's 1985 and 1986 Continuing Surveys of Food Intakes by Individuals. Dietary information for 4 nonconsecutive days throughout a year was used. All foods were classified into groups and the lipids contributed from each group were computed.


Over 80% of the children consumed more total fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol than is recommended. The major source of total fat and saturated fats was whole milk; the major sources of dietary cholesterol were eggs and whole milk. Children's food consumption patterns differed by region of the country and race/ethnicity, providing opportunities to refine nutrition education interventions and evaluations.


By substituting lower-fat foods for the major sources of saturated fats, significant reductions in preschool children's intakes of saturated fats, fat, and dietary cholesterol could be achieved.

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