a1 Research Institute of Child Nutrition, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn, Heinstueck 11, 44225 Dortmund, Germany
a2 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
a3 Escuela Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
a4 Department of Health Sciences, Vesalius Hogeschool Gent, Ghent, Belgium
a5 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece
a6 Centre d'Investigation Clinique de Lille, Lille, France
a7 Unité Inserm U995 & Université Lille Nord de France, Lille, France
a8 ImFINE Research Group, Department of Health and Human Performance, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences – INEF, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
a9 National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy
a10 Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
a11 Academic Institute for Clinical Nutrition, Vienna, Austria
a12 Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
a13 Division of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Objective An adequate nutritional intake in childhood and adolescence is crucial for growth and the prevention of youth and adult obesity and nutrition-related morbidities. Improving nutrient intake in children and adolescents is of public health importance. The purpose of the present study was to describe and evaluate the nutrient intake in a European sample using the D-A-CH nutrient intake recommendations and the Nutritional Quality Index (NQI).
Design The HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) Study is a cross-sectional study, the main objective of which is to obtain comparable data on a variety of nutritional and health-related parameters in adolescents aged 12·5–17·5 years.
Setting Eight cities in Europe.
Subjects The initial sample consisted of 3528 European adolescents. Among these, 1590 adolescents (54 % female) had sufficient and plausible dietary data on energy and nutrient intakes from two 24 h recalls using the HELENA-DIAT software.
Results The intakes of most macronutrients, vitamins and minerals were in line with the D-A-CH recommendations. While the intakes of SFA and salt were too high, the intake of PUFA was too low. Furthermore, the intakes of vitamin D, folate, iodine and F were less than about 55 % of the recommendations. The median NQI was about 71 (of a maximum of 100).
Conclusions The intakes of most nutrients were adequate. However, further studies using suitable criteria to assess nutrient status are needed. Public health initiatives should educate children and adolescents regarding balanced food choices.
(Received August 13 2012)
(Revised January 09 2013)
(Accepted January 22 2013)
(Online publication March 08 2013)