Estimation and consumption pattern of free sugar intake in 3-year-old Irish preschool children.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
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JournalEuropean journal of nutrition
AbstractPurposes: Dietary free sugars (FS) are the most important risk factor for dental caries and can contribute to excess energy intake. Measuring FS intake is limited by food composition databases and appropriate dietary assessment methods. The aim of this analysis was to estimate total sugar (TS) and FS intakes for Irish pre-schoolers and examine the proportion of dietary TS and FS captured using a short food questionnaire (SFQ). Methods: This is a secondary analysis of 3-year-old children from two national surveys; Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), N = 9793 of whom 49% were girls and the National Preschool Nutrition Survey (NPNS), N = 126 and 52% were girls. GUI used SFQs and NPNS used semi-weighed food diaries to collect dietary data from 3-year-old children. Dietary intake databases were linked using an established approach. Mean daily TS and FS intakes and frequency were calculated, and consumption patterns from foods and meals are presented. The proportion of foods that were covered or non-covered by the GUI SFQ was calculated by comparison with the NPNS food diary. Results: 75% of 3 year-olds had FS intake greater than the maximum recommended by WHO guidelines for free sugar intake, while 4% met the lower threshold. The median frequency of TS and FS consumption was 5.0 (4.0-6.0) and 4.0 (3.0-5.0) times/day. Less than one-quarter of TS intake (g/day) was non-covered by the GUI SFQ while less than one-third of FS intake was non-covered. Conclusions: A large majority of 3-year-old Irish children do not meet the WHO recommended guidelines for FS intake and almost none meet the desired conditional recommendation. SFQs only capture two-thirds of FS intake at this early age.
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