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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 243-257; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040243

Food Intakes by Preschool Children in Flanders Compared with Dietary Guidelines

Department of Public Health, Ghent University, University Hospital 2BlokA, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Unit of Epidemiology, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14, 1050 Brussel, Belgium
Department of Health Sciences, Vesalius, Hogeschool Gent, Keramiekstraat 80, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 October 2008 / Accepted: 5 December 2008 / Published: 8 December 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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The objective of this study was to compare food group intakes among preschool children with food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) and to determine the proportion of children meeting these guidelines. Food consumption of preschool children (2.5-6.5 years) living in Flanders (Belgium) were assessed in a cross-sectional study, using proxy reported 3d estimated dietary records (EDR) (n 696). Statistical modelling was used to account for within-individual variation in the 3d EDR. Mean daily intakes of most food groups (beverages, vegetables, fruit and milk) were below the minimum recommendations. Only ‘grains and potatoes’ and ‘meat products’ were in line with the recommendations and ‘bread and cereals’ showed borderline intakes. Mean intakes of energy-dense and low-nutritious foods, which are discouraged within a healthy diet (like snacks and sugared drinks), were high. Furthermore, the percentage of children complying with the different food-based dietary guidelines was for most food groups extremely low (ranging from approximately 4% for fluid and vegetable intakes up to 99% for potato intakes). Boys had in general higher mean intakes of the recommended food groups. In conclusion, preschool children in Flanders follow eating patterns that do not meet Flemish FBDG. Although the impact of these eating habits on preschooler’s current and future health should be further investigated, it is clear that nutrition education and intervention are needed among preschool children and their parents in Flanders.
Keywords: Food intake; Recommendations; Preschool; Children; Belgium Food intake; Recommendations; Preschool; Children; Belgium

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Huybrechts, I.; Matthys, C.; Vereecken, C.; Maes, L.; Temme, E.H.; Van Oyen, H.; De Backer, G.; De Henauw, S. Food Intakes by Preschool Children in Flanders Compared with Dietary Guidelines. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5, 243-257.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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