Public Health Nutrition

Hot Topic – Nutrition for infants up to pre-school children Nutrition and health

Intakes and adequacy of potentially important nutrients for cognitive development among 5-year-old children in the Seychelles Child Development and Nutrition Study

Alison J McAfeea1 c1, Maria S Mulherna1, Emeir M McSorleya1, Julie MW Wallacea1, Maxine P Bonhama2, Jude Faurea3, Sarah Romaina3, Christina Esthera3, Conrad F Shamlayea3, Gene E Watsona4, Gary J Myersa4, Thomas W Clarksona4, Philip W Davidsona4 and JJ Straina1

a1 Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK

a2 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

a3 Ministry of Health, Victoria, Mahé, Republic of Seychelles

a4 School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA


Objective To assess the nutritional adequacy of Seychellois children in relation to nutrients reported to be important for cognitive development.

Design Dietary intakes were assessed by 4 d weighed food diaries and analysed using dietary analysis software (WISP version 3·0; Tinuviel Software, UK). Individual nutrient intakes were adjusted to usual intakes and, in order to investigate adequacy, were compared with the UK Estimated Average Requirements for children aged 4–6 years.

Setting Children 5 years old were followed up as part of the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS), located in the high-fish-consuming population of Mahé, Republic of Seychelles.

Subjects Analysis was carried out on a sample of 229 children (118 boys, 111 girls).

Results Children consumed a diet of which fortified cereal and milk products contributed the most to nutrient intakes. The majority (≥80 %) of children met requirements for several nutrients important for child development including Fe, folate and Se. Adjusted dietary intakes of Cu, Zn, iodine, niacin and vitamin A were below the Estimated Average Requirement or Recommended Nutrient Intake. Mean adjusted energy intakes (boys 4769 kJ/d (1139·84 kcal/d), girls 4759 kJ/d (1137·43 kcal/d)) were lower than the estimated energy requirement (boys 5104 kJ/d (1220 kcal/d), girls 5042 kJ/d (1205 kcal/d)) for 88 % of boys and 86 % of girls.

Conclusions Nutrition was adequate for most children within the SCDNS cohort. Low intakes of some nutrients (including Zn, niacin and vitamin A) could reflect nutritional database inaccuracies, but may require further investigation. The study provides valuable information on the adequacy of intakes of nutrients which could affect the growth and development of Seychellois children.

(Received August 12 2011)

(Accepted January 04 2012)

(Online publication February 10 2012)


c1 Corresponding author: Email