a1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Royal Free Hospital and University College London Medical School, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Objectives: To assess the proportion of pre-school children meeting reference nutrient intakes (RNIs) and recommendations for daily intakes of iron, zinc, vitamins C and A, and energy from non-milk extrinsic sugars. To assess whether meeting these five dietary requirements was related to a series of socio-economic variables.
Design: Secondary analysis of data on daily consumption of foods and drinks from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) of children aged 1.5–4.5 years based on 4-day weighed intakes.
Subjects: One thousand six hundred and seventy-five British pre-school children aged 1.5–4.5 years in 1993.
Results: Only 1% of children met all five RNIs/recommendations examined; 76% met only two or fewer. Very few children met the recommendations for intakes of zinc (aged over four years) and non-milk extrinsic sugars (all ages). The number of RNIs/recommendations met was related to measures of socio-economic class. Children from families in Scotland and the North of England, who had a manual head of household and whose mothers had fewest qualifications, met the least number of RNIs/recommendations.
Conclusions: Very few pre-school children have diets that meet all the RNIs and recommendations for iron, zinc, vitamins C and A, and energy from non-milk extrinsic sugars. Dietary adequacy with respect to these five parameters is related to socio-economic factors. The findings emphasise the need for a range of public health policies that focus upon the social and economic determinants of food choice within families.
(Received November 02 1999)
(Accepted May 30 2001)