Public Health Nutrition

Research Papers


The contribution of mixed dishes to vegetable intake among US children and adolescents

Amy M Branuma1 c1 and Lauren M Rossena1

a1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, Infant, Child, and Women's Health Statistics Branch, 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA


Objective To describe the contribution of mixed dishes to vegetable consumption and to estimate vegetable intake according to specific types of vegetables and other foods among US children and adolescents.

Design The 2003–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative probability survey conducted in the USA.

Setting Civilian non-institutionalized US population.

Subjects All children and adolescents aged 2–18 years who met eligibility criteria (n 9169).

Results Approximately 59 % of total vegetable intake came from whole forms of vegetables with 41 % coming from a mixed dish. White potatoes (10·7 (se 0·6) %), fried potatoes (10·2 (se 0·4) %), potato chips (8·6 (se 0·5) %) and other vegetables (9·2 (se 0·5) %) accounted for most vegetables in their whole forms, whereas pasta dishes (9·5 (se 0·4) %), chilli/soups/stews (7·0 (se 0·5) %), pizza/calzones (7·6 (se 0·3) %) and other foods (13·7 (se 0·6) %) accounted for most mixed dishes. Usual mean vegetable intake was 1·02 cup equivalents/d; however, after excluding vegetables from mixed dishes, mean intake fell to 0·54 cup equivalents/d and to 0·32 cup equivalents/d when fried potatoes were further excluded.

Conclusions Mixed dishes account for nearly half of overall vegetable intake in US children and adolescents. It is critical for future research to examine various components of vegetable intake carefully in order to inform policy and programmatic efforts aimed at improving dietary intake among children and adolescents.

(Received March 05 2013)

(Revised June 17 2013)

(Accepted July 10 2013)

(Online publication August 20 2013)


  • Vegetables;
  • Nutrition surveys


c1 Corresponding author: Email