Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Assessment of diet in young children with an emphasis on fruit and vegetable intake: using CADET – Child and Diet Evaluation Tool

JE Cadea1 c1, L Freara1 and DC Greenwooda1

a1 Nutritional Epidemiology Group, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, 30–32 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LN, UK

Abstract

Objectives To develop a concise, simple tool for use by non-specialists to assess diet in children aged 3–7 years attending primary schools.

Design A 24-hour food tick list covering all aspects of the diet and with a focus on fruit and vegetable consumption was developed. This was compared against a 24-hour semi-weighed food diary obtained for the same day as the tick list.

Setting Six primary schools with a range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from a large city in the north of England (Leeds).

Participants One hundred and eighty children returned completed packs of information; a response rate of 77% of those who were willing to take part, 48% of those approached.

Results On average, 2.4 items of fruit including juice (2.1 items as 5-a-day count) were eaten and 1.6 items of vegetables (excluding potato). Twenty-seven per cent and 36% of boys and 23% and 24% of girls reported not eating any fruit or vegetables, respectively, on the recording day. Correlations comparing the diary and tick list were high for both foods (range r = 0.44 to 0.89) and nutrients (range r = 0.41 to 0.68). The level of misclassification was much less than would be expected by chance. Parent and teacher evaluation of the tick list was very positive. Parents felt the tick list was easy and quick to complete.

Conclusion The Child and Diet Evaluation Tool (CADET) tick list has been used successfully for rapid collection of food and nutrient information from children aged 3–7 years from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds. The tool has performed better than many food-frequency questionnaires in comparison to a food diary.

(Received January 17 2005)

(Accepted August 31 2005)

Correspondence

c1 *Corresponding author: Email j.e.cade@leeds.ac.uk

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