Other Factors that Impact on Dietary Intakes

Comparisons between boys and girls often reveal differences in dietary patterns, yet these are seldom consistent between surveys. On the whole, boys eat more meat and dairy products, while girls favor fruit, salad vegetables, and artificially sweetened drinks. The dietary practices of girls are more likely to be influenced by a desire to limit energy intakes. Lower intakes of dairy products, meat, and breakfast cereals seen in older adolescent girls explain their typically poor intakes of iron and calcium.

Differences in diet are sometimes seen between children from different social classes or income groups. In the NDNS, children from a lower socioeconomic background were less likely to consume low-fat dairy foods, fruit juice, salad vegetables, high-fiber cereals, fruit juices, and fruit than children from a higher socioeconomic background. This impacted on mean daily nutrient intakes with lower socioeconomic children consuming less protein, total sugars, total carbohydrate, and fiber. There was a similar trend for micronutrients, particularly vitamin C. Some surveys have found higher fat intakes in children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Such a dietary pattern, characterized by lower than optimal levels of protective nutrients, combined with a higher prevalence of smoking, may partly explain the higher burden of chronic disease experienced by people from lower socioeconomic groups.

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