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Young children lack basic skills related to recognizing the types of foods they consume and dietary surveys often rely on parents’ response. The present study aimed to evaluate how well parents of children aged from 3 months to 10 years perceive images of portions of foods commonly consumed by young children.
Pre-weighed, actual food portions (n 2314) were shown to the study participants who were asked to indicate the picture that corresponded to the food in view. Mean differences between picture numbers selected and shown were estimated and compared using unpaired t tests or Tukey–Cramer pairwise comparisons.
Real-time testing of parents’ perception of food images presenting portion sizes consumed by children up to 10 years old.
A convenience sample of 138 parents/caregivers of young children (69 % females).
Individuals selected the correct or adjacent image in about 97 % of the assessments. Images presenting amorphous solids (i.e. pies and pastries with a filling), liquid or semi-liquid dishes (i.e. soups, porridges, fruit and vegetable purées) were more prone to bias. There was no indication that personal characteristics (gender, age, educational background, age, number of offspring) were associated with differences in the way parents/caregivers perceived the food pictures.
Food pictures may not be appropriate to quantify the intake of liquid, semi-liquid or amorphous solid foods in surveys addressing young children and studies evaluating their performance as food portion anchors should ensure the inclusion of several and various amorphous foods in the assessment.
A greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean (MED) diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. This dietary pattern is based on higher consumption of plant products that are rich in flavonoids. We compared the total flavonoid dietary intakes, their food sources and various lifestyle factors between MED and non-MED countries participating in the EPIC study. Flavonoid intakes and their food sources for 35 628 subjects, aged 35–74 years and recruited between 1992 and 2000, in twenty-six study centres were estimated using standardised 24 h dietary recall software (EPIC-Soft®). An ad hoc food composition database on flavonoids was compiled using analytical data from the United States Department of Agriculture and Phenol-Explorer databases. Moreover, it was expanded to include using recipes, estimations of missing values and flavonoid retention factors. No significant differences in total flavonoid mean intake between non-MED countries (373·7 mg/d) and MED countries (370·2 mg/d) were observed. In the non-MED region, the main contributors were proanthocyanidins (48·2 %) and flavan-3-ol monomers (24·9 %) and the principal food sources were tea (25·7 %) and fruits (32·8 %). In the MED region, proanthocyanidins (59·0 %) were by far the most abundant contributor and fruits (55·1 %), wines (16·7 %) and tea (6·8 %) were the main food sources. The present study shows similar results for total dietary flavonoid intakes, but significant differences in flavonoid class intakes, food sources and some characteristics between MED and non-MED countries. These differences should be considered in studies about the relationships between flavonoid intake and chronic diseases.
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