OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in intake of energy (EI), sugars, and sucrose-rich foods and drinks between weekdays (Monday through Thursday), Fridays and weekends in European children.
METHODS: Twenty-four hour recall data were used for children aged 2-9 years from Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden, participating in the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In children and infantS) study at baseline 2007-2008. Dietary intake was reported by parents and complemented by day-care or school personnel when needed. Children with complete interview days for whom all main meals were known and that had a reported EI between 500-5000 kcal/day were included with one day each. For children with more than one 24-hour recall weekends were chosen over weekdays in order to obtain a balanced distribution of days of week. Regression models adjusted for country, age and sex were performed to investigate differences in EI, sugars (g/day) and sucrose-rich foods and drinks (g/day) on weekdays (Monday through Thursday) versus weekends (n=9339), as well as Fridays versus weekdays and weekends (n=9496), respectively. Models with intake of sugars and sucrose-rich foods and drinks as dependent variables were additionally adjusted for EI. The analysis comparing intake on weekdays versus weekends was stratified by country for Belgium, Cyprus (excluding sugars), Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
RESULTS: Intake of energy (t(9338)=4.1, p<0.001), sugars (t(8189)=7.6, p<0.001), and sucrose-rich foods and drinks (t(9338)=6.4, p<0.001) were higher on weekends versus weekdays. Intake on Fridays was a cross between the intakes on weekdays and weekends and did not differ from them, except for intake of sucrose-rich foods and drinks, being lower on Fridays compared with weekends (t(9495)= -2.2, p=0.02). Stratified analyses showed higher EI on weekends versus weekdays in Hungary (t(1532)=7.7, p<0.001). Intake of sugars was higher on weekends versus weekdays in Hungary (t(1532)=5.6, p<0.001), Italy (t(1974)=4.5, p<0.001) and Sweden (t(1224)=6.0, p<0.001), but in Belgium it was lower on weekends versus weekdays (t(372)= -2.0, p=0.04). Intake of sucrose rich foods and drinks was higher on weekends versus weekdays in Cyprus (t(1148)=2.8, p=0.01), Hungary (t(1532)=2.9, p=0.004), Italy (t(1974)=9.0, p<0.001) and Spain (t(623)=3.0, P=0.003).
CONCLUSION: Dietary intake of European children differed on weekdays (Monday through Thursday) versus weekends, and intake on Fridays was a cross between the intakes on these days. The results imply the importance to capture dietary intake of children on both weekdays and weekends when assessing their habitual intake with 24-hour recalls.
International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods, Rome, Italy, 14-17 May