OBJECTIVE: Valid estimates of population intakes are essential for monitoring trends as well as for nutritional interventions, but such data are rare in young children. In particular, the problem of misreporting in dietary data is usually not accounted for. Therefore, this study aims to provide accurate estimates of intake distributions in European children.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional setting-based multi-centre study.
SUBJECTS: A total of 9560 children aged 2-9 years from eight European countries with at least one 24-h dietary recall (24-HDR).
METHODS: The 24-HDRs were classified in three reporting groups based on age- and sex-specific Goldberg cutoffs (underreports, plausible reports, overreports). Only plausible reports were considered in the final analysis (N=8611 children). The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Method was applied to estimate population distributions of usual intakes correcting for the variance inflation in short-term dietary data.
RESULTS: The prevalence of underreporting (9.5%) was higher compared with overreporting (3.4%). Exclusion of misreports resulted in a shift of the energy and absolute macronutrient intake distributions to the right, and further led to the exclusion of extreme values, that is, mean values and lower percentiles increased, whereas upper percentiles decreased. The distributions of relative macronutrient intakes (% energy intake from fat/carbohydrates/proteins) remained almost unchanged when excluding misreports. Application of the NCI-Method resulted in markedly narrower intake distributions compared with estimates based on single 24-HDRs. Mean percentages of usual energy intake from fat, carbohydrates and proteins were 32.2, 52.1 and 15.7%, respectively, suggesting the majority of European children are complying with common macronutrient intake recommendations. In contrast, total water intake (mean: 1216.7 ml per day) lay below the recommended value for >90% of the children.
CONCLUSION: This study provides recent estimates of intake distributions of European children correcting for misreporting as well as for the daily variation in dietary data. These data may help to assess the adequacy of young children's diets in Europe.
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