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To compare dietary intake and sources of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) in 4-year-old British children between 1950 and the 1990s, and report their variation by sociodemographic factors.
Nationally representative samples of 4-year-olds from the longitudinal Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) (1950) and the cross-sectional National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS, 1992/93 and 1997).
Subjects were 4599 children born on 3–9 March 1946 (NSHD) and 307 children in the 1990s (NDNS).
Geometric mean dietary phylloquinone intake was significantly higher in 1950 (39 μg day−1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 37, 40) compared with the 1990s (24 μg day−1, 95% CI 22, 25) (P < 0.001). This difference remained when intake was expressed per MJ energy intake and per kilogram body weight, and after accounting for sex, region and occupational social class of the family. In 1950, phylloquinone intake in Scotland was significantly lower than in the rest of Britain. By the 1990s these regional differences had disappeared. Food sources of phylloquinone intake changed significantly between 1950 and the 1990s, with fats and oils contributing more and vegetables less, although vegetables contributed most (60% and 48%, respectively) to phylloquinone intake in both surveys.
Phylloquinone intakes of children have decreased significantly since 1950. With the suggested need for adequate phylloquinone intake for optimal development and maintenance of bone and the cardiovascular system, the substantially lower phylloquinone intakes reported in children of the 1990s, compared with 1950, may have implications for the health of these two systems in later adulthood.
To examine the prevalence and dietary, sociodemographic and lifestyle risk factors of low iron intake and poor iron status in British young people.
National Diet and Nutrition Survey of young people aged 4–18 years.
Great Britain, 1997.
In total, 1699 young people provided 7-day weighed dietary records, of which 11% were excluded because the participant reported being unwell with eating habits affected. Blood was obtained from 1193 participants, with iron status indicated by haemoglobin, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation.
Iron intakes were generally adequate in most young people aged 4–18 years. However, low iron intakes (below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake) occurred in 44% of adolescent girls (11–18 years), being less prevalent with high consumption of breakfast cereals. Low haemoglobin concentration (<115 gl−1, 4–12 years; <120 or <130 gl−1, 13+ years for girls and boys, respectively) was observed in 9% of children aged 4–6 years, pubertal boys (11–14 years) and older girls (15–18 years). Adolescent girls who were non-Caucasians or vegetarians had significantly poorer iron status than Caucasians or meat eaters, independent of other risk factors. The three iron status indices were correlated significantly with haem, but not non-haem, iron intake.
Adolescent girls showed the highest prevalence of low iron intake and poor iron status, with the latter independently associated with non-Caucasian ethnicity and vegetarianism. Risk of poor iron status may be reduced by consuming (particularly lean red) meat or enhancers of non-haem iron absorption (e.g. fruit or fruit juice) in vegetarians.
To examine risk factors for poor iron status in British toddlers.
National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) of children aged 1.5–4.5 years.
Mainland Britain, 1992/93.
Of the 1859 children whose parents or guardians were interviewed, a weighed dietary intake was provided for 1675, and a blood sample obtained from 1003.
Mean haemoglobin (Hb) and ferritin levels were significantly lower in younger (1.5–2.5 years) than in older (3.5–4.5 years) children, with boys having significantly lower ferritin levels than girls. Poor iron status (Hb>110 g l−1, ferritin >10 μg l−1, or low values for both indices) was associated with lower socioeconomic and employment status. Iron status was directly associated with meat and fruit consumption and inversely with that of milk and milk products, after adjustment for age and gender. The latter association remained significant after further adjustment for sociodemographic variables, energy intake and body weight. Children consuming <400 g day−1 of milk and cream were less likely to consume foods in other groups, with those also consuming little meat, fish, fruit and nuts at greatest risk of poor iron status. Few associations were observed between poor iron status and individual nutrient intakes, and iron status was not associated with either iron intake or with consumption of a vegetarian diet.
Overdependence on milk, where it displaces iron-rich or iron-enhancing foods, may put toddlers at increased risk of poor iron status. However, this becomes non-significant when moderate-to-high amounts of foods known to enhance iron status (e.g. meat and/or fruit) are also consumed. Milk consumption in this age group should ideally be part of a mixed and balanced diet including all food groups, and particularly lean meat (or other iron-rich or fortified foods) and fruit. This is particularly relevant for households of lower socioeconomic and employment status.
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