Fruit and vegetable intake: vitamin C and beta-carotene intake and serum concentrations in six-year-old children and their parents
AbstractBackground: Intake of fruit and vegetables, which are important sources of antioxidant nutrients, has frequently been inversely related to the risk of chronic diseases. Objective: To investigate the serum concentration of vitamin C and β-carotene in relation to fruit and vegetable intake in 6-year-old children and their parents. Design: An observational study on families of healthy 6-year-old children in the Greater Reykjavik area. Serum vitamin C and β-carotene were analysed. Fruit and vegetable intake of children and their parents was assessed by 3 day weighed food records and by a food frequency questionnaire. Results: A positive correlation was seen in serum vitamin C concentration (r=0.454-0.570, p<0.005) and serum β-carotene concentration (r=0.385-0.497, p<0.02) between family members. The total intake of fruit, vegetables and fruit juice was 164±124 g (mean±SD), 302±181g and 238±175 g for children, mothers and fathers, respectively. Family members ’ intake of fresh fruit, fruit juice and green leafy vegetables was positively related (r=0.227, p<0.02 and r=0.313, p<0.01 between children and their mother and father, respectively, and r=0.247, p<0.05 between parents). Conclusions: The relationship between children’s and their parents’ fruit and vegetable intake is supported in the present study by an even stronger correlation of serum vitamin C and β-carotene between family members. Interventions aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption by children should focus on the whole family. Keywords: antioxidants; child; fruit; nutrition; parent-child relationship; vegetables
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