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A child's diet is an important determinant for later health, growth and development. In Denmark, most children in primary school bring their own packed lunch from home and attend an after-school care institution. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the food, energy and nutrient intake of Danish school children in relation to dietary guidelines and nutrient recommendations, and to assess the food intake during and outside school hours. In total, 834 children from nine public schools located in the eastern part of Denmark were included in this cross-sectional study and 798 children (95·7 %) completed the dietary assessment sufficiently (August–November 2011). The whole diet was recorded during seven consecutive days using the Web-based Dietary Assessment Software for Children (WebDASC). Compared with the food-based dietary guidelines and nutrient recommendations, 85 % of the children consumed excess amounts of red meat, 89 % consumed too much saturated fat, and 56 % consumed too much added sugar. Additionally 35 or 91 % of the children (depending on age group) consumed insufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables, 85 % consumed insufficient amounts of fish, 86 % consumed insufficient amounts of dietary fibre, 60 or 84 % had an insufficient Fe intake (depending on age group), and 96 % had an insufficient vitamin D intake. The study also showed that there is a higher intake of fruits and bread during school hours than outside school hours; this is not the case with, for example, fish and vegetables, and future studies should investigate strategies to increase fish and vegetable intake during school hours.
A New Nordic Diet (NND) was developed in the context of the Danish OPUS Study (Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet). Health, gastronomic potential, sustainability and Nordic identity were crucial principles of the NND. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of serving NND school meals compared with the usual packed lunches on the dietary intake of NND signature foods. For two 3-month periods, 834 Danish children aged 8–11 years received NND school meals or their usual packed lunches brought from home (control) in random order. The entire diet was recorded over 7 consecutive days using a validated Web-based Dietary Assessment Software for Children. The NND resulted in higher intakes during the entire week (% increase) of root vegetables (116 (95 % CI 1·93, 2·42)), cabbage (26 (95 % CI 1·08, 1·47)), legumes (22 (95 % CI 1·06, 1·40)), herbs (175 (95 % CI 2·36, 3·20)), fresh berries (48 (95 % CI 1·13, 1·94)), nuts and seeds (18 (95 % CI 1·02, 1·38)), lean fish and fish products (47 (95 % CI 1·31, 1·66)), fat fish and fish products (18 (95 % CI 1·02, 1·37)) and potatoes (129 (95 % CI 2·05, 2·56)). Furthermore, there was a decrease in the number of children with zero intakes when their habitual packed lunches were replaced by NND school meals. In conclusion, this study showed that the children increased their intake of NND signature foods, and, furthermore, there was a decrease in the number of children with zero intakes of NND signature foods when their habitual packed lunches were replaced by school meals following the NND principles.
Bias in self-reported dietary intake is important when evaluating the effect of dietary interventions, particularly for intervention foods. However, few have investigated this in children, and none have investigated the reporting accuracy of fish intake in children using biomarkers. In a Danish school meal study, 8- to 11-year-old children (n 834) were served the New Nordic Diet (NND) for lunch. The present study examined the accuracy of self-reported intake of signature foods (berries, cabbage, root vegetables, legumes, herbs, potatoes, wild plants, mushrooms, nuts and fish) characterising the NND. Children, assisted by parents, self-reported their diet in a Web-based Dietary Assessment Software for Children during the intervention and control (packed lunch) periods. The reported fish intake by children was compared with their ranking according to fasting whole-blood EPA and DHA concentration and weight percentage using the Spearman correlations and cross-classification. Direct observation of school lunch intake (n 193) was used to score the accuracy of food-reporting as matches, intrusions, omissions and faults. The reporting of all lunch foods had higher percentage of matches compared with the reporting of signature foods in both periods, and the accuracy was higher during the control period compared with the intervention period. Both Spearman's rank correlations and linear mixed models demonstrated positive associations between EPA+DHA and reported fish intake. The direct observations showed that both reported and real intake of signature foods did increase during the intervention period. In conclusion, the self-reported data represented a true increase in the intake of signature foods and can be used to examine dietary intervention effects.
The OPUS (Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet (NND)) School Meal Study investigated the effects on the intake of foods and nutrients of introducing school meals based on the principles of the NND covering lunch and all snacks during the school day in a cluster-randomised cross-over design. For two 3-month periods, 834 Danish children aged 8–11 years from forty-six school classes at nine schools received NND school meals or their usual packed lunches brought from home (control) in random order. The whole diet of the children was recorded over seven consecutive days using a validated Web-based Dietary Assessment Software for Children. The NND resulted in higher intakes of potatoes (130 %, 95 % CI 2·07, 2·58), fish (48 %, 95 % CI 1·33, 1·65), cheese (25 %, 95 % CI 1·15, 1·36), vegetables (16 %, 95 % CI 1·10, 1·21), eggs (10 %, 95 % CI 1·01, 1·19) and beverages (6 %, 95 % CI 1·02, 1·09), and lower intakes of bread (13 %, 95 % CI 0·84, 0·89) and fats (6 %, 95 % CI 0·90, 0·98) were found among the children during the NND period than in the control period (all, P< 0·05). No difference was found in mean energy intake (P= 0·4), but on average children reported 0·9 % less energy intake from fat and 0·9 % higher energy intake from protein during the NND period than in the control period. For micronutrient intakes, the largest differences were found for vitamin D (42 %, 95 % CI 1·32, 1·53) and iodine (11 %, 95 % CI 1·08, 1·15) due to the higher fish intake. In conclusion, the present study showed that the overall dietary intake at the food and nutrient levels was improved among children aged 8–11 years when their habitual packed lunches were replaced by school meals following the principles of the NND.
The aim of the present study was to validate thirty-eight picture series of six pictures each developed within the PANCAKE (Pilot study for the Assessment of Nutrient intake and food Consumption Among Kids in Europe) project for portion size estimation of foods consumed by infants, toddlers and children for future pan-European and national dietary surveys. Identical validation sessions were conducted in three European countries. In each country, forty-five foods were evaluated; thirty-eight foods were the same as the depicted foods, and seven foods were different, but meant to be quantified by the use of one of the thirty-eight picture series. Each single picture within a picture series was evaluated six times by means of predefined portions. Therefore, thirty-six pre-weighed portions of each food were evaluated by convenience samples of parents having children aged from 3 months to 10 years. The percentages of participants choosing the correct picture, the picture adjacent to the correct picture or a distant picture were calculated, and the performance of individual pictures within the series was assessed. For twenty foods, the picture series performed acceptably (mean difference between the estimated portion number and the served portion number less than 0·4 (sd < 1·1)). In addition, twelve foods were rated acceptable after adjustment for density differences. Some other series became acceptable after analyses at the country level. In conclusion, all picture series were acceptable for inclusion in the PANCAKE picture book. However, the picture series of baby food, salads and cakes either can only be used for foods that are very similar to those depicted or need to be substituted by another quantification tool.
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