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Contribution of beverages to energy, macronutrient and micronutrient intake of third- and fourth-grade schoolchildren in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala


Gabriela Montenegro-Bethancourt, Center for Studies of Sensory Impairment, Aging and Metabolism (CeSSIAM), 17 Avenida # 16-89 (interior), Zona 11 (Anillo Periférico), Guatemala City 01011, Guatemala. E-mail:


Beverages are selected based on availability, culture, taste preference, health, safety and social context. Beverages may be important to energy and to the macronutrient and micronutrient quality of overall intake. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of beverages to the dietary energy and estimated macro- and micronutrient intake to the diet of young schoolchildren. We analyzed data from third- and fourth-grade urban Guatemalan school-children aged predominantly 8–10 years old. One-day pictorial registries of all beverages, foods and snacks consumed over a 24-h period were collected from children from private (n = 219) and public (n = 230) schools. Food composition nutrient values were assigned to the items consumed. Eleven main categories of beverages were identified. The contribution of each of the 11 beverage categories to energy, macro- and micronutrients was evaluated. The estimated intake of beverages was 475 300 mL, as reported by the 449 children. As a group, the beverage consumed in the greatest quantity was coffee (126 500 mL), followed by plain water (62 000 mL). Beverages represented a mean energy contribution of 418 ± 26 kcal (21.5% of total dietary energy). The beverages varied in energy density from 0 (water) to 1.5 kcal mL−1 (thin gruels). Beverages contributed one-third of the dietary carbohydrate. Through the contribution of fortified drinks, beverages were important sources of vitamin A (55%), vitamin C (38%), zinc (21%) and calcium (19%). Milk was an important source for vitamin D (10%). These results show the importance of drinks to nutrition and the balance of concerns of overweight/obesity with micronutrient quality.