Diet quality and eating behavioural patterns in preschool children in Hong Kong.
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
To assess the diet quality and eating behaviour of preschool children, investigate parents' feeding practices, and obtain information on the kindergarten nutrition environment of Hong Kong children aged 30-60 months.
METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN
Dietary information was obtained using multiple 24-hour recalls. Questionnaires were developed to obtain information on children' seating behaviour, parents' feeding practices and preschool nutrition environment.
A total of 302 children and 23 local kindergartens from three regions of Hong Kong were surveyed. The results showed consumption of vegetable and fruit were adequate; however, consumption of grain and meat were excessive, while milk and dairy intakes were inadequate. On average, the children consumed 1,280 kcal per day, or 92% of the Chinese Nutrition Society's energy recommendation. For macronutrients, the mean percentages of energy from carbohydrate, protein and fat were 55%, 17% and 28%, respectively, which are within the United States Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges. The mean intakes of carbohydrate and protein were 175 g and 53.4 g, respectively. For micronutrients, the mean intakes of vitamin D, calcium, iron and zinc were significantly lower than the reference nutrient intake or adequate intake (p<0.05), but those of sodium and niacin were significantly higher than the tolerable upper intake levels (p<0.05).
This study showed that diet quality among children in Hong Kong needs to be improved, as some nutrients are consumed in excess whereas others are consumed in inadequate amounts. Other results on children's eating behaviour, parent's feeding practices and school nutrition environment are also reported.