Fruit and Vegetable Intake in a Sample of 11-Year-Old Children in 9 European Countries: The Pro Children Cross-Sectional SurveyYngve A. · Wolf A. · Poortvliet E. · Elmadfa I. · Brug J. · Ehrenblad B. · Franchini B. · Haraldsdóttir J. · Krølner R. · Maes L. · Pérez-Rodrigo C. · Sjöström M. · Thórsdóttir I. · Klepp K.-I.
aDepartment of Biosciences, Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; bInstitute for Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; cDepartment of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; dFaculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; eResearch Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, and fDepartment of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; gDepartment of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; hCommunity Nutrition Unit, Bilbao, Spain; iUnit for Nutrition Research, Landspitali University Hospital, and jDepartment of Food Science, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; kDepartment of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Background/Aims: An adequate fruit and vegetable intake provides essential nutrients and nutritive compounds and is considered an important part of a healthy lifestyle. No simple instrument has been available for the assessment of fruit and vegetable intake as well as its determinants in school-aged children applicable in different European countries. Within the Pro Children Project, such an instrument has been developed. This paper describes the cross-sectional survey in 11-year-olds in 9 countries. Methods: The cross-sectional survey used nationally, and in 2 countries regionally, representative samples of schools and classes. The questionnaires, including a precoded 24-hour recall component and a food frequency part, were completed in the classroom. Data were treated using common syntax files for portion sizes and for merging of vegetable types into four subgroups. Results: The results show that the fruit and vegetable intake in amounts and choice were highly diverse in the 9 participating countries. Vegetable intake was in general lower than fruit intake, boys consumed less fruit and vegetables than girls did. The highest total intake according to the 24-hour recall was found in Austria and Portugal, the lowest in Spain and Iceland. Conclusion: The fruit and vegetable intake in 11-year-old children was in all countries far from reaching population goals and food-based dietary guidelines on national and international levels.