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To compare the energy, nutrient and food group compositions of three sources of school-day lunches among students in five secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland (ROI).
Cross-sectional study conducted between October 2012 and March 2013. Students completed self-report food diaries over two school days. The energy, nutrient, nutrient density and food group composition of school-day lunches from home, school and ‘out’ in local food outlets were compared using ANCOVA and Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference post hoc analysis.
Five secondary schools in the ROI.
Male and female students aged 15–17 years (n 305).
Six hundred and fifteen lunches (376 home lunches, 115 school lunches and 124 lunches sourced ‘out’ in the local environment) were analysed. School and ‘out’ purchased lunches were significantly higher than packed lunches from home in energy (2047 kJ (489 kcal), 2664 kJ (627 kcal), 1671 kJ (399 kcal), respectively), total fat (23·5 g, 30·1 g, 16·6 g, respectively) and free (added) sugars (12·6 g, 19·3 g, 7·4 g, respectively). More home lunches contained more fruit, wholemeal breads, cheese and red meat than lunches from school or ‘out’. Meat products, chips and high-calorie beverages were sourced more frequently at school or ‘out’ than home. Fibre and micronutrient contents of lunches from all sources were low.
Home-sourced lunches had the healthiest nutritional profile in terms of energy and macronutrients. Foods high in energy, fat and free sugars associated with school and local food outlets are of concern given the public health focus to reduce their consumption. While school food should be improved, all sources of lunches need to be considered when addressing the dietary behaviours of secondary-school students.
The current study prospectively examines the intra-uterine hypothesis by comparing maternal, paternal and grandparental lineage influences on children's diet and also maternal–child aggregation patterns during pregnancy and early childhood.
Prenatal dietary information was available for expectant mothers, fathers and up to four grandparents through a detailed validated semi-quantitative FFQ. At 6-year follow-up, when children averaged 5 years of age, dietary information was re-collected for mothers and a subset of maternal grandmothers using the same FFQ. Child's FFQ version was used for children. Anthropometric and sociodemographic variables were also collected.
Three-generation familial cohort representative of the contemporary Irish national population.
Children aged 5 years (n 567) and their parents and grandparents.
Associations for energy, macronutrient and fibre intakes were compared using Pearson's correlations, intra-class correlations (ICC) and linear regression models, adjusted for energy and potential confounders. Significant, moderate-strength positive correlations were observed for nutrient intakes in children's nuclear families (ICC (range) = 0·22–0·28). The father–child associations (r (range) = 0·13–0·20) were weaker than the mother–child associations (r (range) = 0·14–0·33). In general, associations were stronger for maternal postnatal intake–child intake than for maternal prenatal intake–child intake, except for percentage of energy from fat (adjusted β = 0·16, 95 % CI 0·05, 0·26; P = 0·004), which was stronger for maternal prenatal intake, specifically in non-breast-fed children (adjusted β = 0·28, 95 % CI 0·12, 0·44; P = 0·001). Among all grandparents, correlations were significant only for maternal grandmother–mother pairs (r (range) = 0·10–0·36). Significant positive ICC were observed for nutrient intakes of maternal grandmother–mother–child triads (ICC (range) = 0·12–0·27), not found in paternal lines.
These findings suggest that maternal-environment programming influences dietary intake.