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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;65(2):160-6. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.254. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Convenience foods in children's diet and association with dietary quality and body weight status.

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Research Institute of Child Nutrition Dortmund, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universit├Ąt Bonn, Heinstueck 11, Dortmund, Germany.



Pre-prepared commercial foods (convenience foods, CFs) are one aspect of modern dietary habits. The present paper examines the association between CF consumption and dietary quality or body weight status in a sample of German children and adolescents.


Linear mixed-effect regression analyses using data from 586 participants (296 boys, 3-18 years) in the Dortmund Nutritional Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed Study, who yearly completed 1890 3-day dietary records and anthropometric measurements in 2004-2008, was used.


CF intake (percent total food intake) showed no significant association with macronutrient intakes (%E), with exception of a significant positive association with polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake (P<0.0001). Considering only high-energy-dense (ED)-CF (40% of the CF intake), there was a significant negative association with total protein, carbohydrate and saturated fatty acid intake (%E) (P<0.05), and a positive with total fat and PUFA (P<0.01). The nutrient quality index (harmonic mean of 10 vitamins and minerals as the percentage of the reference intakes) showed a significant negative trend with increased consumption of CF (P=0.0013). No significant association between baseline or change in consumption of CF and baseline or change in parameters of body weight (standard deviation score of body mass index (weight/height(2)) or percentage body fat (%BF) estimated from skinfolds) was found. Among boys, baseline consumption of high-ED-CF significantly predicted change in %BF during the study period (╬▓ 0.104, P=0.0098).


Our results point to an impairment of dietary quality with high consumption of CF and to a small but positive association between consumption of high-ED-CF in boys and weight.

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