Characterizing Dinner Meals Served and Consumed by Low-Income Preschool Children
ABSTRACT Background: A dinner meal is consumed by approximately 95% of preschool children, yet few studies have characterized the dinner meal within a broader environmental context. The primary goal of this study was to identify the average quantities of foods served and consumed at the dinner meal by preschool children. A secondary goal was to look at factors that influenced the total amounts of food and energy consumed among preschoolers at the dinner meal. Method: Food intake at a family dinner meal was measured using digital photography in African-American and Hispanic-American preschool children (n = 231). Pictorial records were converted to gram and energy estimates of food served and consumed; grams were converted to kilocalories for each food using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) nutritional software. Foods were categorized by groups/subgroups. Comparison of means and coefficient of variation was examined overall and by food groups for food grams (and energy) served, consumed, and wasted. The relationship of mother/child characteristics to amounts served and consumed were analyzed by regression and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: Plate waste was high; 30% of the foods served to the child at the dinner meal were not consumed. The amounts of food and beverage served and consumed varied within and among the food groups studied. The proportion of children served a major food group at the dinner meal varied considerably: 44% fruit/juice, 97% vegetables, 99% grains, 97% meats, 74% dairy, 66% sweetened beverages, 92% fat and oils, and 40% sweets and sugars. The amount of food served was positively associated with the amount consumed (p < 0.0001). Energy density of the dinner meal was positively associated with energy intake consumed (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Plate waste and variation in amounts served and consumed was substantial. The amount of food served was positively associated with the amount of food consumed by preschool children.
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ABSTRACT: The Digital Photography of Foods Method accurately estimates the food intake of adults and children in cafeterias. When using this method, images of food selection and leftovers are quickly captured in the cafeteria. These images are later compared with images of 'standard' portions of food using computer software. The amount of food selected and discarded is estimated based upon this comparison, and the application automatically calculates energy and nutrient intake. In the present review, we describe this method, as well as a related method called the Remote Food Photography Method (RFPM), which relies on smartphones to estimate food intake in near real-time in free-living conditions. When using the RFPM, participants capture images of food selection and leftovers using a smartphone and these images are wirelessly transmitted in near real-time to a server for analysis. Because data are transferred and analysed in near real-time, the RFPM provides a platform for participants to quickly receive feedback about their food intake behaviour and to receive dietary recommendations for achieving weight loss and health promotion goals. The reliability and validity of measuring food intake with the RFPM in adults and children is also reviewed. In sum, the body of research reviewed demonstrates that digital imaging accurately estimates food intake in many environments and it has many advantages over other methods, including reduced participant burden, elimination of the need for participants to estimate portion size, and the incorporation of computer automation to improve the accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the method.Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 07/2013; 27. DOI:10.1111/jhn.12014 · 2.07 Impact Factor