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Keywords:

  • Adolescent;
  • child;
  • dietary intake;
  • United States

Summary

What is already known about this subject

  • Despite recent declines in added sugars (from 1999–2000 to 2007–2008), consumption of added sugars and solid fats among United States children and adolescent from 1999–2000 to 2007–2008 exceeds recommended levels.

What this study adds

  • These results suggest that the decreases in solid fat and added sugars intakes among United States children and adolescents observed from 1999–2000 through 2007–2008 have levelled-off.
  • Decreases in solid fat and added sugars intakes have primarily been due to reductions in added sugar intakes.
  • Although the consumption of solid fats and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States decreased between 1994–1998 and 2009–2010, mean intakes continue to exceed recommended limits by 18–28% of total energy intake.

Background

There are increasing global concerns about improving the dietary intakes of children and adolescents. In the United States (U.S.), the focus is on reducing energy from foods and beverages that provide empty calories from solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS).

Objective

We examine trends in intakes and sources of solid fat and added sugars among U.S. 2–18 year olds from 1994 to 2010.

Methods

Data from five nationally representative surveys, the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals Surveys (1994–1996) and the What We Eat In America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2003–2004, 2005–2006, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010) were used to examine key food sources and energy from solid fats and added sugars. Sample sizes ranged from 2594 to 8259 per survey period, for a total of 17 268 observations across the five surveys. Food files were linked over time to create comparable food groups and nutrient values. Differences were examined by age, race/ethnicity and family income.

Results

Daily intake of energy from SoFAS among U.S. 2–18 year olds decreased from 1994 to 2010, with declines primarily detected in the recent time periods. Solid fats accounted for a greater proportion of total energy intake than did added sugars.

Conclusions

Although the consumption of solid fats and added sugars among children and adolescents in the U.S. decreased between 1994–1998 and 2009–2010, mean intakes continue to exceed recommended limits.