Nutrient intake and growth in preschool children. I, Comparison of energy intake and sources of energy with growth



This is the first UK study for 20 years to relate nutrient intake to growth in pre-school children. Between May 1988 and April 1990, 153 healthy children aged 2–5 years from Edinburgh were studied. A subset of 54 children were assessed twice, 12 months apart. Nutrient intake was determined by the 7-d weighed inventory method. Anthropometric measurements included height, weight and skinfold thickness. Data were grouped by age and gender.

Despite low group mean energy intakes of 80–85% of the current UK Estimated Average Requirement of energy (DoH, 1991), the children were apparently growing normally. Anthropometric measurements were within the normal range for age and no significant relationship was found between energy intake and rate of growth, suggesting that energy intake was adequate.

Considerable variation was found in the composition of diets. A highly significant negative correlation was found between the % energy from fat and the % energy from sugars and a significant positive correlation between total energy intake and fibre intake. However, as no relationship was found between energy intake and % energy from fat, sugars and starch, the composition of the diet did not apparently influence total energy intake.