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Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?
eral micronutrients (e.g., calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins A and B12) and food groups (e.g., grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy), and increasing proportions of children with intakes below the EAR or decreasing proportion above the AI for selected nutrients (Kranz et al., 2005b). Younger children at the lowest level of added sugars intake (<10 percent of total calories) consumed approximately one serving more of grains, fruits, and dairy compared to those in the highest added sugar intake group (>25 percent of total calories). Approximately 75 percent of younger preschoolers (ages 2–3 years) and 50 percent of older preschoolers (ages 4–5 years) had calcium intakes above the AI with added sugar intakes of 16–25 percent of total calories; 60 percent and 30 percent of younger and older preschoolers, respectively, had calcium intakes above the AI when added sugars exceeded 25 percent of total calories.16 The main sources of added sugars were fruit drinks (19–20 percent), sweetened carbonated soft drinks (14–16 percent), and high-fat desserts (15–16 percent).
The potential calorie and nutrient composition of beverages in the diets of children and youth have important implications for diet-related health risks such as obesity and osteoporosis. Data from the national dietary surveys indicate that beverage consumption habits have changed for children and adolescents over the past 35 years. Between 1965 and 2001, the intake of sweetened beverages (e.g., carbonated soft drinks and fruit drinks) by children and adolescents ages 2–18 years increased and milk decreased—whether expressed as percentage of per capita total calorie intake, percentage of consumers, mean servings per day, or mean portions (Cavadini et al., 2000; Nielsen and Popkin, 2004; Appendix D, Table D-9). Milk consumption decreased from 13.2 percent of total calories in 1977–1978 to 8.3 percent in 2001 for children and youth ages 2–18 years (Nielsen and Popkin, 2004). During this same time period, soft drink consumption in this age group increased from 3 to 6.9 percent, and fruit drink consumption increased from 1.8 to 3.4 percent (Nielsen and Popkin, 2004).
The decline in total milk consumption over time by children (ages 6–11 years) and adolescents (ages 12–19 years) is related to a decline in the consumption of whole milk that is not offset by a commensurate increase in consumption of low-fat milk and skim milk (Enns et al., 2002, 2003). From 1965 to 1996, low-fat milk replaced higher-fat milk intake in 11- to 18-
As noted previously, although the AI cannot be used to estimate the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes in a group, the prevalence of inadequacy should be low if at least 50 percent of a group has intakes greater than the AI.