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Dietary surveys of 11- to 12-year-old Northumbrian children in 1980 and 1990 revealed that consumption of non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) was 16–17% of energy intake. This study reports dietary sugars consumption in 2000 and compares it with data collected in 1980 and 1990, using identical methods.
A repeat cross-sectional dietary survey of children aged 11–12 years attending the same schools as in the 1980 and 1990 surveys.
Seven middle schools in south Northumberland.
All children aged 11–12 years old attending the seven schools.
Food consumption was recorded using two 3-day diet diaries. Food composition tables were used to calculate energy and nutrient intakes. NMES, and milk and intrinsic sugars were calculated using previously described methods.
The numbers of children completing the surveys in 1980, 1990 and 2000 were 405, 379 and 424, respectively; ~60–70% of eligible children. Total sugars provided 22% of energy consistently over the three surveys. NMES consumption in 2000 provided 16% of energy compared with 16% in 1980 and 17% in 1990. Sources of NMES changed over the three surveys. NMES from soft drinks doubled from 15 to 31 g day− 1, and from breakfast cereals increased from 2 to 7 g day− 1 over the 20 years. Confectionery and soft drinks provided 61% of NMES. Over 20 years, the proportion of energy from fat decreased by 5% and from starch increased by 4%, creating a welcome tilt in the fat–starch see-saw, without an adverse effect on sugars intake.
Consumption of NMES in 2000 was substantially higher than recommended, and there has been little change over 20 years. Continued and coordinated efforts are required at a national, community and individual level to reduce the intake of NMES.
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