Food habits and dietary intake of schoolchildren in Estonia

  • Heli Grünberg
  • Külli Mitt
  • Maie Thetloff


The social and economic changes which have taken place in Estonia in the early 1990s may have an impact on the dietary habits and nutrient intake of children. This first report is a comprehensive survey focusing on the diet of pubertal children - the period of most rapid growth after infancy. A school-based cross-sectional dietary study, using food frequency questionnaires and 48-hour recalls, was performed in five Estonian counties. The sample consisted of 562 randomly-selected 12- and 15-year-old rural and urban children, 34 1 of whom answered the 48-hour recall interview. The mean daily energy intake was 10.2-1 1.2 MJ in urban and 8.5-9.2 MJ in rural boys and 7.9-8.6 MJ in urban girls compared with 7.6-8.6 MJ in rural girls. Fat accounted for 36-38%, protein for 12-14% and carbohydrates for 49-52% of the total energy intake. The mean intakes of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids comprised 13- 15%, 11 - 14% and 6- 8% of daily energy intake, respectively. The mean intakes of vitamins C and D and the minerals calcium and zinc were below the current Estonian recommendations for both girls and boys. The mean iron intake of girls was 20% lower than national recommendations. Cereal products were the most important food group, providing the main source of energy, protein, carbohydrates and iron. The requirements for most vitamins and minerals meet the national recommendations, except for iron in girls. Obesity is not a significant problem in these age groups.


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How to Cite
Grünberg H., Mitt K., & Thetloff M. (1997). Food habits and dietary intake of schoolchildren in Estonia. Food & Nutrition Research, 18-22.