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Fruit and vegetable intake: change with age across childhood and adolescence

Albani Zambon, V., Butler, L. T., Traill, W. B. and Kennedy, O. B. ORCID: (2017) Fruit and vegetable intake: change with age across childhood and adolescence. British Journal of Nutrition, 117 (5). pp. 759-765. ISSN 0007-1145

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0007114517000599


Abstract Eating fruit and vegetables (FV) offers important health benefits for children and adolescents, but their average intake is low. To explore if negative trends with age exist as children grow, this study modelled differences in fruit and vegetable consumption from childhood to young adulthood. A pseudo-panel was constructed using Years 1-4 (combined) of the Rolling Programme of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008/09 – 2011/12). Intake of fruits and vegetables in the NDNS was recorded using 4- day unweighted food diaries. Data consisted of 2131 observations of individuals aged 2 to 23 years. Age-year-cohort decomposition regression analyses were used to separate age effects from year and cohort effects in the data. Total energy intake was included to account for age differences in overall energy consumption. Fruit intake started to decrease from the age of 7 for boys and girls and reached its lowest level during adolescence. By 17 years boys were consuming 0.93 (p = 0.037) less fruit portions compared to the age of two. By 15 years, girls were consuming 0.8 fruit portions less (p = 0.053). Vegetable intake changed little during childhood and adolescence (p = 0.0834 and p = 0.843 for change between 7 and 12 years, boys and girls respectively). There was unclear evidence of recovery of FV intakes in early adulthood. Efforts to improve FV intake should consider these trends, and focus attention on the factors influencing intake across childhood and adolescence in order to improve the nutritional quality of diets during these periods.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:70029
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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