Macronutrient and fibre intake of young Spanish children with reference to their in utero growth status: Are they eating a healthy diet?

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Aim: To compare macronutrient and fibre intake by pre-school children born with intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) or as appropriate for gestational age (AGA) and to compare their intake with paediatric nutritional recommendations for identification of potential areas of modification during early life.
Methods: A parental 3-day dietary record was obtained for children of age 1-6 years, born at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain (2002-2007) with IUGR (n = 37) or AGA (n = 53). Mean nutrient intake (adjusted for body mass index), nutrient adequacy ratios (NAR) and percentage of energy intake (EI%) were compared.
Results: Macronutrient and fibre intake of the two groups did not differ significantly. However, IUGR children showed significantly higher than the recommended levels of protein EI% (18 (95% confidence interval (CI) 16-19)), NAR for saturated fatty acids (SFAs) (1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.5)) and NAR for carbohydrate (1.4 (95% CI 1.2-1.6)) and significantly lower than the recommended levels of NAR for unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8)) and for fibre (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8)). Likewise, children born with AGA showed similar pattern compared to the recommended levels for protein EI% (17 (95% CI 16-18)), NAR for SFAs (1.3 (95% CI 1.2-1.4)), NAR for UFAs (0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.7)) and NAR for fibre (0.8 (95% CI 0.7-0.9)).
Conclusion: Spanish pre-school children consume proteins and SFAs in abundance and UFAs and fibre in moderation. Reinforcement of healthy eating is recommended for long-term health benefits, especially for at-risk children born with IUGR, whose consumption of carbohydrate is additionally greater than that recommended.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health