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US adolescent food intake trends from 1965 to 1996


AIM To examine adolescent food consumption trends in the United States with important chronic disease implications.

METHODS Analysis of dietary intake data from four nationally representative United States Department of Agriculture surveys of individuals 11–18 years of age (n = 12 498).

RESULTS From 1965 to 1996, a considerable shift in the adolescent diet occurred. Total energy intake decreased as did the proportion of energy from total fat (39% to 32%) and saturated fat (15% to 12%). Concurrent increases occurred in the consumption of higher fat potatoes and mixed dishes (pizza, macaroni cheese). Lower fat milks replaced higher fat milks but total milk consumption decreased by 36%. This decrease was accompanied by an increase in consumption of soft drinks and non-citrus juices. An increase in high fat potato consumption led to an increase in vegetable intake but the number of servings for fruits and vegetables is still below the recommended five per day. Iron, folate, and calcium intakes continue to be below recommendations for girls.

CONCLUSIONS These trends, far greater than for US adults, may compromise health of the future US population.

  • nutrition
  • adolescents
  • national survey
  • diet

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