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      Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature. Part I: quantitative studies


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          In order to more effectively promote fruit and vegetable intake among children and adolescents, insight into determinants of intake is necessary. We conducted a review of the literature for potential determinants of fruit and vegetable intake in children and adolescents.


          Papers were identified from Medline and PsycINFO by using all combinations of the search terms: "fruit(s) or vegetable(s)" and "children or adolescents". Quantitative research examining determinants of fruit and/or vegetable intake among children and adolescents aged 6–18 years were included. The selection and review process was conducted according to a four-step protocol resulting in information on country, population, design, methodology, theoretical basis, instrument used for measuring intake, statistical analysis, included independent variables, and effect sizes.


          Ninety-eight papers were included. A large number of potential determinants have been studied among children and adolescents. However, for many presumed determinants convincing evidence is lacking, mostly because of paucity of studies. The determinants best supported by evidence are: age, gender, socio-economic position, preferences, parental intake, and home availability/accessibility. Girls and younger children tend to have a higher or more frequent intake than boys and older children. Socio-economic position, preferences, parental intake, and home availability/accessibility are all consistently positively associated with intake.


          The determinants most consistently supported by evidence are gender, age, socio-economic position, preferences, parental intake and home availability/accessibility. There is a need for internationally comparative, longitudinal, theory-based and multi-level studies taking both personal and environmental factors into account.

          This paper is published as part of the special Pro Children series in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Please see [ http://www.ijbnp.org/content/3/1/26] for the relevant editorial.

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          Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: a review.

          In this review of the scientific literature on the relationship between vegetable and fruit consumption and risk of cancer, results from 206 human epidemiologic studies and 22 animal studies are summarized. The evidence for a protective effect of greater vegetable and fruit consumption is consistent for cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx, endometrium, pancreas, and colon. The types of vegetables or fruit that most often appear to be protective against cancer are raw vegetables, followed by allium vegetables, carrots, green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and tomatoes. Substances present in vegetables and fruit that may help protect against cancer, and their mechanisms, are also briefly reviewed; these include dithiolthiones, isothiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, allium compounds, isoflavones, protease inhibitors, saponins, phytosterols, inositol hexaphosphate, vitamin C, D-limonene, lutein, folic acid, beta carotene, lycopene, selenium, vitamin E, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. Current US vegetable and fruit intake, which averages about 3.4 servings per day, is discussed, as are possible noncancer-related effects of increased vegetable and fruit consumption, including benefits against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, diverticulosis, and cataracts. Suggestions for dietitians to use in counseling persons toward increasing vegetable and fruit intake are presented.
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            Family dinner and diet quality among older children and adolescents.

            The proportion of children eating dinner with their families declines with age and has decreased over time. Few data exist concerning the nutritional effect of eating family dinner. To examine the associations between frequency of eating dinner with family and measures of diet quality. Cross-sectional. A national convenience sample. There were 8677 girls and 7525 boys in the study, aged 9 to 14 years, who were children of the participants in the ongoing Nurses' Health Study II. We collected data from a self-administered mailed survey, including food and nutrient intakes from a validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Main outcome measures included servings per day of selected foods and food groups, daily intakes of selected macronutrients and micronutrients, and frequency of multivitamin use. Approximately 17% of participants ate dinner with members of their family never or some days, 40% on most days, and 43% every day. More than half of the 9-year-olds ate family dinner every day, whereas only about one third of 14-year-olds did so. In age- and sex-adjusted logistic regression models, the odds ratios associated with a frequency of family dinner of most days compared with never or some days, or every day compared with most days, were as follows: for eating at least 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables, 1.45 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.37-1.53); for eating any fried foods away from home, 0.67 (95% CI, 0.64-0.70); and for drinking any soda, 0.73 (95% CI, 0.66-0.80). Multiple linear regression showed that an increased frequency of family dinner was also associated with substantially higher intake of several nutrients, including fiber, calcium, folate, iron, vitamins B6, B12, C, and E; lower glycemic load; and lower intake of saturated and trans fat as a percentage of energy. We observed little or no effect on intakes of whole dairy products, red meat, or snack foods. Patterns were similar for boys and girls. Eating family dinner was associated with healthful dietary intake patterns, including more fruits and vegetables, less fried food and soda, less saturated and trans fat, lower glycemic load, more fiber and micronutrients from food, and no material differences in red meat or snack foods.
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              A review of family and social determinants of children's eating patterns and diet quality.

              With the growing problem of childhood obesity, recent research has begun to focus on family and social influences on children's eating patterns. Research has demonstrated that children's eating patterns are strongly influenced by characteristics of both the physical and social environment. With regard to the physical environment, children are more likely to eat foods that are available and easily accessible, and they tend to eat greater quantities when larger portions are provided. Additionally, characteristics of the social environment, including various socioeconomic and sociocultural factors such as parents' education, time constraints, and ethnicity influence the types of foods children eat. Mealtime structure is also an important factor related to children's eating patterns. Mealtime structure includes social and physical characteristics of mealtimes including whether families eat together, TV-viewing during meals, and the source of foods (e.g., restaurants, schools). Parents also play a direct role in children's eating patterns through their behaviors, attitudes, and feeding styles. Interventions aimed at improving children's nutrition need to address the variety of social and physical factors that influence children's eating patterns.

                Author and article information

                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
                BioMed Central (London )
                11 August 2006
                : 3
                : 22
                [1 ]Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
                [2 ]Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
                [3 ]Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
                [4 ]Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                Copyright © 2006 Rasmussen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 20 June 2006
                : 11 August 2006

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                Nutrition & Dietetics


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