Nutrient intakes (1990 compared with 1980) and place of purchase of foods (1990) by 11 to 12-year old Northumbrian children
There are few data from repeated cross-sectional studies to indicate the changes in dietary intake in the UK, yet this information is valuable in assessing the impact of dietary-related health education. One of the least investigated aspects of food habits in Britain, particularly for children, is food consumption outside the home. This project investigated the change in dietary intake of 11 to 12-year old children 1980 to 1990, and the place of purchase of food in 1990. In 1990, three-hundred and seventy-nine 11 to 12-year old children completed two 3-day dietary records. Each child was interviewed by one dietitian to verify and enlarge upon the information recorded. These children attended the same seven middle schools in south Northumberland as 405 children, of the same age, who had recorded their food intake using the same method in 1980. In addition, the children in 1990 were questioned on the place of purchase of the foods recorded. It was found that: • Energy intake by boys (but not girls) had fallen. The per cent of energy derived from fat and total sugars was unchanged at about 40 and 22 per cent, respectively. In 1990, 17 per cent of energy was derived from non-milk extrinsic sugars. • Calcium intake by girls was unchanged but had fallen in boys. Iron, vitamin C and unavailable carbohydrate intakes had increased for both boys and girls and the nutrient density of the diet improved for these nutrients in all sex and social groups. In 1990, 90 per cent of girls and 56 per cent of boys had iron intakes below the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) and 66 per cent of girls and 83 per cent of boys had calcium intakes below the RNI. • A social trend, evident in 1980, persisted in 1990 with children from low social class groups consuming the poorest quality of diet. • Food 'purchased' outside the home contributed approximately 31 per cent of the total energy intake, although there was significant variation in the nutrient quality of the food obtained at each place of purchase. It is concluded that whilst there had been improvements in some aspects of the diet, the mean dietary intake of the children in 1990 fell short of current dietary recommendations, and that social inequalities persisted.