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To examine the influence of eating location on the quality of the diets of Irish children and to compare intakes at home with intakes at other people's homes and intakes outside the home, and to compare intakes at various locations outside the home.
Food intake was measured using a 7-day weighed diary in 594 children from the Republic of Ireland (aged 5–12 years). Details of where the food was prepared or obtained were also recorded.
Eighty-nine per cent of all eating occasions occurred at home; < 6% occurred at both other people's homes and outside the home (takeaway, restaurant, shop, other). The percentage of food energy from fat was above the recommended 35% at other people's homes and outside the home, specifically at takeaways and restaurants. Fibre and micronutrient intakes (per 10 MJ) were significantly higher at home than at the other locations (P < 0.05). Within the ‘out’ locations, fibre and micronutrient intakes were generally higher at restaurants and lower at shops. High consumers of foods outside the home had a statistically significant, but relatively small decline in nutrient intakes compared with non- or low consumers. Chips and processed potatoes, meat products, savouries, sugars and confectionery, and savoury snacks made the greatest contribution to foods consumed outside the home.
The main focus of nutrition policies to improve the diets of Irish children should be the home environment rather than the food service sector. However, guidelines could call for better food choices outside the home to improve nutrient intakes.
To examine the temporal pattern of the number of eating occasions that occurred at home, at work and outside the home, and to examine the contribution of fat to energy and the contribution of 26 food groups to fat at home and outside the home.
Design and setting
Food intake data were collected using a 7-day food diary from a random sample of 18–64-year-old adults from the Republic of Ireland (n = 958). Respondents recorded the day, time and location of every eating occasion.
The number of eating occasions was constant across the days of the week for meals consumed at home, whereas the number of eating occasions increased at weekends for meals outside the home. The contribution of fat to energy approximated the 35% recommendation at home from Monday to Friday, but increased above this on Saturday and Sunday. The contribution of fat to energy outside the home was always above the recommendation. The food groups that contributed most to fat were similar at home and outside the home. These included butter and full-fat spreads, fresh meat, meat products, meat dishes, biscuits, cakes and pastries, whole milk, and chips and processed potatoes.
The contribution of fat to energy was above the recommendations when eating outside the home, regardless of day of the week. A number of food groups have been identified that contributed most to fat intake outside the home and these might be targeted in developing public health nutrition strategies to reduce fat intake.
To analyse the temporal distribution of the intake of cereal and dairy products in the Republic of Ireland.
The North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey established a database of habitual food and drink consumption using a 7-day food diary. The database also recorded the time and day of food consumption. Mean intakes of cereal and dairy products were calculated for time of the day and day of the week.
At the weekend, the percentage of consumers decreased for nearly all cereal and dairy products. White bread, total cereals, full-fat milk and total dairy intakes were significantly lower at the weekend (P<0.01) compared with weekdays. Intakes of cereal and dairy products over time of the day showed clear mealtime or snacking patterns when the number of consumers was controlled for. White bread, wholemeal bread, total cereals, full-fat milk, reduced-fat milk and total dairy intakes showed mealtime peaks for morning, afternoon and evening. When examined by tertile of intake, tertile of percentage energy from fat and tertile of fibre intake, intakes of cereal and dairy products over time of the day and day of the week were similar to trends described above, regardless of the tertile.
Temporal analysis of the intakes of cereal and dairy products did not reveal any unusual trends in this population. However, the significant methodological issues raised in this paper will be of benefit to other aspects of research in this area.
To examine the contribution of the food service sector to the nutrient quality of the Irish diet, and to compare intakes at home, work and outside the home (‘ut’) and within the subgroups of the out location (pub, deli, takeaway)
Design and setting
Random sample of adults from the Republic of Ireland. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day food diary. Respondents recorded the location of every eating occasion determined by where the food was prepared rather than consumed
Intakes of energy, protein, fat and carbohydrate were significantly greater at home than at work or out (P <0.05). The intake of alcohol was significantly (P <0.001) greater out than at home or work. The percentage contribution of fat to energy was above the recommendations (33% of total energy and 35% of food energy) for both men and women at all locations, with the exception of the contribution of fat to total energy for men at the out location. Within the subgroups of the out location, the contribution of alcohol to total energy was greatest in pubs and the contribution of fat to both total and food energy was greatest in takeaways. Intakes of fibre and most micronutrients per 10 MJ of food energy were greater (P <0.05) at home than at work or out
Foods eaten outside the home contribute a disproportionately high level of fat intake and should be targeted in public health nutrition strategies
To estimate the intakes of cereal and dairy products and their contribution to nutrient intakes in men and women from the Republic of Ireland with a view to formulating food-based dietary guidelines.
The North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey established a database of habitual food and drink consumption using a 7-day food diary. From this database all cereal and dairy products from recipes and identifiable sources were identified and a new database was generated from which analysis of the role of cereal and dairy products in the diet was carried out.
Almost 100% of the population consumed cereal and dairy products over the course of the survey week. In general, men consumed significantly more cereal and dairy products than did women (P<0.05). Cereal products made an important contribution to the mean daily intakes of energy (26%), protein (21%), fat (13%), carbohydrate (41%), fibre (45%), iron (43%) and folate (27%). Dairy products also contributed largely to the mean daily intakes of energy (11%), protein (14%), fat (17%), calcium (48%), phosphorus (24%) and vitamin A (27%). Analysis of nutrient intakes across tertiles of cereal and dairy consumption showed that high consumers of wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals, reduced-fat milk and yoghurt had lower fat and higher carbohydrate, fibre and micronutrient intakes than low consumers of these foods.
Findings from the present study could be used to develop effective health strategies to implement changes in cereal and dairy consumption that could alter fat, fibre and micronutrient intakes in the diet.
The purpose of this survey was to establish a database of habitual food and drink consumption in a representative sample of Irish adults aged 18-64 years.
A cross-sectional food consumption survey was carried out. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day estimated food diary. Anthropometric data included measurements of weight, height, waist and hip circumferences and body composition using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Questionnaire data included assessments of health, lifestyle and socio-demographic status, levels of physical activity, attitudes to diet and health and restrained eating.
Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland between 1997 and 1999.
In total, 1379 adults aged 18–64 years participated in the survey and completed the 7-day food diary. This paper gives details of the methods used to carry out the survey. Sampling, respondent recruitment, dietary assessment, collection of anthropometric and questionnaire data and data management and analysis are described.
The North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey is unique in being the first food consumption survey ever to be carried out in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland concurrently using the same methodology.
To describe macronutrient intakes and food sources of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and to assess adherence of this population to current dietary recommendations.
A cross-sectional food consumption survey collected food intake data using a 7-day food diary.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between October 1997 and October 1999.
One thousand three hundred and seventy-nine adults aged 18–64 years (662 males and 717 females).
Mean daily energy intakes in men were 11 MJ per day, 15.5% was derived from protein, 34.8% from fat, 43.5% from carbohydrate and 5.9% from alcohol. Corresponding figures for women were 7.6 MJ per day, 15.6%, 35.6%, 45.1% and 3.5%. When alcohol energy was excluded the contribution of fat and carbohydrate to energy did not differ between men and women. When compared with existing dietary recommendations, 93% of men and 86% of women had protein intakes above the Population Reference Intake. Two approaches were used to assess adherence to the fat and carbohydrate dietary recommendations: (1) the proportion of individuals in the population attaining these dietary targets and (2) the proportion of the population that was included in a 'compliers' group which had a group mean equal to these dietary targets. Thirty-three per cent of men and 34% of women met the target of 35% of food energy from fat and 78% of men and 80% of women comprised the ‘compliers’ group having a group mean of 35% of food energy from fat. Twentythree per cent of men and 27% of women met the target of 50% of food energy from carbohydrate and 56% of men and 62% of women made up the 'compliers' group. Meat and meat products were the main source of fat (23%) and protein (37%), and bread and rolls (25%) were the main source of carbohydrate.
A reduction in dietary fat intake remains an important public health issue in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. An increase in carbohydrate intake and attention to the rise in alcohol intake is also warranted.
To obtain measured anthropometric data for weight, height and other parameters not previously measured in the Irish population such as waist and hip circumferences and body composition.
A cross-sectional survey. Weight, height, waist circumference, hip circumference and body composition were measured according to standard procedures.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, 1997–1999.
Random representative sample of 1379 adults aged 18–64 years. Results: With the exception of body fat, all anthropometric values were significantly higher for men than women (P < 0.001). All measurements were significantly higher in the 36–50-year-old age group compared with 18–35 year olds. Height was the exception, which decreased significantly with age (P < 0.05). Weight, height and body mass index (BMI) have increased in Ireland since last measured in 1988 and in 1990. Over the last decade, obesity has increased in men 2.5 fold from 8% to 20% and in women by 1.25 fold from 13% to 16%. Significantly more women have a normal BMI than men (50.4% vs. 33.3%; P < 0.05). Cut-off points for a high waist circumference and high waist-to-hip ratio identified 47% and 33% of the population, respectively, to be at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Social class did not have any significant effect on mean BMI. Location of residence influenced BMI but not in any consistent manner. Ex-smokers had a significantly higher BMI than nonsmokers and smokers (P < 0.05).
A revision of current recommendations for combating obesity is warranted to improve the health of the Irish population. Further research is needed to identify the factors that have contributed to the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in men over the last decade and have resulted in a higher prevalence of obesity in men than in women.
To examine energy intakes (El), their ratio to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMRest) and the contribution of food groups to energy intake in the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey.
Design and setting
Random sample of adults from the populations of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day food diary. Body weight and height were measured and EI/BMRest was calculated from reported energy intake and estimated basal metabolic rate. Dieting practices were assessed as part of a self-administered questionnaire.
Mean energy intake in men was 11.0 MJ and in women was 7.6 MJ, which is comparable to reported energy intakes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over a decade ago. Mean EI/BMRest was 1.38. This increased to 1.42 after the exclusion of dieters and those who were unwell, but still remained less than the established cut-off of 1.53. EI/BMRest was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in men than in women and decreased significantly (P < 0.05) with increasing BMI in both sexes. The four food groups that contributed 50% of energy in men and women were meat and meat products, breads and rolls, potatoes and potato products, and biscuits, cakes, pastries and puddings.
Energy intakes have not changed remarkably in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland in the last 10 years, but the mean EI/BMRest of 1.38 suggests that energy underreporting occurred. EI/BMRest was lower in women and in the overweight/obese. Additional multivariate analysis of the data is needed to identify more clearly subgroups of the population reporting lower than expected energy intakes and to evaluate the effect of low energy reporting on the consumption of various foods and food groups.
A consideration of eating patterns in the general population is necessary when deriving food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) as promoting the intake of one food may indirectly result in the increased consumption of another, which may not always be desirable. A number of issues that influence meal patterns such as temporal distribution of food intake (using data from the Netherlands), converging and diverging foods (using data from Ireland) and meals eaten inside and outside of the home (using data from the UK) are examined and discussed in the context of developing FBDG.
Food intake databases from three EU countries: The Netherlands, Ireland and the UK.
The hot meal (dinner) was found to be the main contributor to the intake of energy and macro-nutrients in the Dutch population. It was also the main contributor to the intake of all micro-nutrients with the exception of calcium where the bread meal contributed a similar proportion as the hot meal to the intake of this micronutrient. Furthermore, fruit intake showed a very different temporal distribution to vegetable intake. Exploring the convergence of certain foods in the Irish population also revealed differences between fruit and vegetables. A low correlation was shown for consumers of fruit and vegetables indicating that being a high fruit consumer did not suggest being also a high vegetable consumer. An examination of where meals were consumed among British adults showed that 71% of all meals were consumed inside the home while 29% were consumed outside. 27% of food energy and 45% of alcohol energy was consumed out of home by the total population. In addition, those eating less of their foods out of home obtained a lower proportion of their food energy from fat and protein and a higher proportion from carbohydrate. A different demographic profile was associated with eating out compared to eating in, comprising more males and younger individuals.
Information on patterns of food intake and food habits, specifically temporal distribution, the convergence and divergence of foods and foods consumed inside and outside of the home, give a culturally specific picture of food consumption practices within a population. This should enable the development of more culturally acceptable and realistic FBDG.
To identify the most important motivations for food choice from the point of view of the consumer in the Irish population, and to characterize those subjects who do and do not regard nutrition as a significant consideration in food choice.
As part of a pan-European Union (EU) survey on consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health, a quota-controlled, nationally representative sample of Irish adults (n = 1009) aged 15 years upwards, completed an interview-assisted, close-ended questionnaire. Subjects selected three factors, from a list of 15, which they believed had the greatest influence on their food choice.
The interviews for the survey were conducted in subjects' homes.
‘Quality/freshness of food’ was the most frequently selected food choice factor (51%) followed by ’taste‘ (43%) and ‘trying to eat a healthy diet’ (36%). Female gender, increasing age and higher levels of education were found to be independent sociodemographic factors affecting the selection of ‘trying to eat a healthy diet’ as an important factor in food choice.
Although included in the top five most frequently selected factors affecting food choice, nutrition/healthy eating does not appear to have top priority for the majority of Irish adults. There are differences between the various sociodemographic groups within the population; males and younger subjects appear to require specific nutrition promotion messages.
To assess the more prevalent beliefs about body weight and the factors involved in weight changes in the Spanish adult population.
A national survey was carried out according to an established protocol on Spanish subjects selected by a multistage procedure following a random route model, which was quota-controlled for several sociodemographic variables. This study was undertaken by the Spanish arm of a pan-European survey and was performed with a validated questionnaire. It contained questions to evaluate some aspects concerning the relationship between obesity, physical activity and health. We also estimated the proportion of self-reported overweight and obesity.
The sample included 1000 subjects aged 15 years or older.
Eleven per cent of the sample were obese (body mass index, BMI > 30 kg m-2) and an additional 32% were overweight (BMI > 25 and < 30 kg m-2). Obesity prevalence was higher among older individuals, those with lower education and socioeconomic levels, and among housewives and retired or unemployed people. Most Spanish people believed that fat intake (51%) and the amount of food consumption (44%) were the major factors involved in weight gain, while physical activity was less mentioned (12%). The method most frequently used to lose weight was diet (9%). Individuals from central and southern regions payed more attention to genetics (20–27%) and physical activity (12–20%) as determinants of weight gain than people living in the north or northwest regions (15–17% and 8–9%, respectively). Normal weight people participated more often in some physical activity during their leisure time.
The Spanish population is not familiar with factors influencing weight gain. Health promotion strategies should emphasize the role of physical activity, especially among older individuals, retired or unemployed subjects, those from lower educational or socioeconomic levels and among people living in the north or northwest of Spain.
The purpose of conducting this survey was to identify data on consumer attitudes towards and beliefs about physical activity, body weight and health among the 15 countries of the EU.
A cross-sectional study to get a picture of the attitudes to physical activity, body weight and health in the EU. For this, it was considered important that samples be nationally representative so that inferences drawn from the data could be applied to the population in each country as well as to the EU population as a whole. Using a non-probability sampling method employing quota controls (and the national weight) we obtained large sample sizes from each country which were nationally representative in terms of the variables age, sex and regional distribution. To ensure samples were truly nationally representative a national weight was used when analysing the data using the same characteristics as those used to define quotas. When examining pooled estimates for the total EU sample a population weight was applied.
In total, 15 239 subjects aged 15 years and upwards in the EU completed the survey. This article gives details on the methods used in carrying out the survey from design of the questionnaire to sample selection, questionnaire administration and analysis of the data. The methods and their limitations are discussed.
To assess iron status in a sample of clinically well, Caucasian children and explore the complex factors which contribute to iron deficiency during infancy.
Infants recruited at birth and followed longitudinally at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 24 and 36 months; feeding practices and socioeconomic data recorded. Iron status assessed using venous blood at 12, 24 and 36 months.
Baseline data recorded in the maternity unit. Follow-up visits took place in the infants' homes and blood sampling in a paediatric hospital.
Subjects comprised a mixed socioeconomic group of healthy children (n=121). Blood samples taken from 85, 72 and 67% at 12, 24 and 36 months, respectively.
Prevalence of anaemia (Hb < 110 gl−1) in the longitudinal sample (n=76) increased from 2.6% at age 12 months to 9.2% at 24 months, and at age 36 months (n=70) was 8%. The most significant finding was that at age 12 months, cows' milk consumption was negatively associated with iron status. Other variables also had an influence. At both 24 and 36 months the most significant predictor of iron status was earlier iron status.
Infants born to anaemic mothers or mothers who smoke and infants who consume cows' milk during infancy are at increased risk of developing anaemia. Breast milk is the ideal, but for the infant who is not breast fed an iron fortified formula should be used. Advice to mothers should focus on the importance of introducing nutrient dense complementary foods, such as meat, which contains readily absorbable iron.
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