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Journal cover: Nutrition & Food Science

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Online from: 1971

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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Diet adequacy in UK schoolchildren

Document Information:
Title:Diet adequacy in UK schoolchildren
Author(s):C.H.S. Ruxton, (Nutrition Communications, Cupar, UK), E. Derbyshire, (Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Citation:C.H.S. Ruxton, E. Derbyshire, (2011) "Diet adequacy in UK schoolchildren", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 41 Iss: 1, pp.20 - 33
Keywords:Children, Diet, Minerals, United Kingdom, Vitamins
Article type:General review
DOI:10.1108/00346651111102865 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This review was funded by the Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) ( which is supported by a restricted educational grant from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB). Neither HSIS nor PAGB had a role in selecting papers or writing the review. The content reflects the opinion of the authors.

Purpose – There is a strong interest in the quality of children's diets as this can impact on current and future health. The aim of this paper is to review current and past literature on UK children's diets to evaluate the adequacy of nutrient intakes in comparison with recommendations, and to identify population groups that may be at particular risk of nutritional deficiencies.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature review was carried out to locate and summarise up-to-date published studies and reports which addressed dietary intakes of UK children, trends overtime and current dietary issues.

Findings – Although UK children's diets appear to have improved in recent years, intakes of several key nutrients remain below dietary recommendations. Iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc are especially low in some groups, whilst intakes of saturated fat and sugar exceed current targets. Thus, further improvements are needed. In the meantime, parents may consider giving children a daily multi-vitamin to ensure that micronutrient recommendations are achieved. The lack of child-specific targets for fibre, long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn3PUFA), vitamin D and fruit and vegetables portions makes it difficult to properly evaluate children's diets for these important dietary components.

Research limitations/implications – Future studies should use consistent age ranges and methods of dietary assessment to enable better comparisons. Research is needed to underpin child-specific dietary guidelines for LCn3PUFA, fibre and vitamin D.

Originality/value – This paper gives a concise, up-to-date overview of the current diet quality of UK children.

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