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Lachapelle, D., Gamache, C., Brodeur, J.M. and Sevigny, J. (1989) Frequency of Food Consumption in Children. Weekdays versus Weekends. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, 55, 61-65.
ABSTRACT: Background: There is conflicting information about whether Scottish children follow the UK government recommendation of consuming 5 portions of fruit and vegetable (F & V) a day, or whether increased intake of F & V promotes improved health. Objective: This study aimed to 1) perform a cross-sectional study of the number of F & V portions that primary school children consume in relation to age (4 - 13 years old) and sex, 2) establish the relationship between F & V intake and health parameters. Methods: Data were collected from 466 children using a specific F & V intake questionnaire. Health parameters (weight, height, blood pressure, waist circumference, hip circumference and lung function) were measured from all of the children. Results: Children consumed on average a total of 4.50 (SD 1.86) portions of F & V per day. F & V intake was not significantly different between girls and boys (t(464) = -0.397, P = 0.69). Children had greater intake of F&V on week day compared to weekend day (t(465) = 6.42, P ≤ 0.001). 42.2% children achieved the recommended F & V intake of five or more portions per day. After adjusting for age, sex and school, children who consumed more F & V had several markers of positive health including greater height, and parameters reflecting pulmonary function (FEV1 and FVC) were improved, while body weight, body fat, systolic blood pressure, pulse, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist to hip and waist to height ratio were all reduced. Conclusion: The recommended level of F & V or more can promote health among primary age children.