The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between meal pattern and diet. Nutrient contents of meals, snacks and other eating occasions were compared and differences in dietary intake analysed between respondents following a conventional meal pattern and others. A random sample of 1861 adults aged 25-64 from four regions of Finland completed a mailed questionnaire and 3-day food record in the spring of 1992. A conventional meal pattern was defined on the basis of national dietary guidelines as including breakfast, warm lunch and warm dinner, and subjects were identified with the help of the questionnaire. Meals and snacks were defined according to the respondents subjective criteria. Forty-four percent of all respondents followed the conventional meal pattern. Meal pattern has no effect on nutrient intake in men and small effects in women. Women following the conventional meal pattern had higher energy and cholesterol intake and lower alcohol and vitamin C intake than other women. Meals contributed to energy, protein and fat intake, and snacks to sugar and alcohol. Meal pattern had only a small effect on diet and conventional meal pattern cannot be considered healthier than other meal patterns.
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is of special concern. Inverse associations between sleep length and overweight have been found in children. Short sleeping hours result in hormonal changes, which increase perceived hunger and appetite. This could affect food intake, and consequently lead to overweight. The aim is to find out whether there is an association between adequate sleep and food consumption among 10-11-year-old school children in Finland. One thousand two hundred and sixty-five children (response rate 79 %), aged 9-11, from thirty-one schools filled in a questionnaire about their health behaviour. Inadequate sleep was measured as short sleeping hours during school nights and weekend nights, difficulties in waking up in the morning and tiredness during the day. Food consumption patterns were measured by two consumption indices, energy-rich foods and nutrient-dense foods, based on a short FFQ (sixteen items). Inadequate sleep is associated with food consumption patterns. Boys with shorter sleep duration during school nights, and who were felt tired during the day, were more likely to consume energy-rich foods. Girls with shorter sleep duration during school nights consumed more likely energy-rich foods and less likely nutrient-dense foods. Adjusting for physical activity and screen time weakened the explored associations. The associations with energy-rich foods were stronger for boys than for girls. Sleeping habits are associated with food consumption patterns. Shorter sleep duration during school nights in school children is associated with higher consumption of energy-rich foods.
3-,9- and 15-year-old children were studied in autumn in order to evaluate their serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25-OH-D) concentration and their vitamin D intake. The 25-OH-D was significantly lower in the 15-year-old than in the other children, but it was satisfactory in all groups as compared to the 25-OH-D of healthy, young adults. The mean dietary vitamin D intake as well as the mean total vitamin D intake including supplements was low in all groups of children. With a vitamin D intake as low as in this study, every house-bound child would be at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
In connection with a survey of child nutrition in Finland the haemoglobin and heamatocrit values in childhood and the prevalence of anaemia were studied. The series consisted of 1534 children aged 5, 9 and 13 years. The haemoglobin concentrations in those age groups were 12.60 +/- 0.81, 13.24 +/- 0.77 and 13.64 +/- 0.77 and 13.64 +/- 0.90 g/100 ml, respectively. The haematocrit values were 38.0 +/- 2.53, 39.6 +/- 2.50 and 40.8 +/- 3.00%. In the total series, 3.0% of the Hb values and 4.8% of the PCV values were below the WHO norms. No difference was found between anaemic and non-anaemic children with respect to the mean daily intake of dietary iron or the intake of iron from the food group eggs, meat and fish in absolute amounts or per 1000 kcal. Anaemic 5-year-old children, however, obtained from this food group a significantly smaller percentage of their total dietary iron than the non-anaemic children of the same age.
The authors conducted a dietary methodology study in 1984 in Finnish men aged 55-69 years in order to validate two dietary assessment instruments being used in the US-Finland Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Lung Cancer Prevention Trial. Twelve 2-day food records collected from 162 men over a 6-month period, including every day of the week, served as the reference measure. This report focuses on three important questions for investigating diet and disease relations: 1) How many days are necessary to classify "usual" intake? 2) Is there loss as a result of using consecutive days? 3) Which days are necessary for assessment and classification of "usual" diet? A repeated-measures regression model was used to estimate the variance components and the effects of consecutive days, weekday (weekday vs. weekend), and season. Correlations between the averages of different numbers of days of food records and "true" usual intake were examined along with the resulting attenuations in relative risk. Results suggest that 7-14 days are required to adequately classify most individuals into categories of intake for most nutrients and some foods. There appears to be some loss of information from using consecutive days rather than days further apart. Weekday/weekend differences in mean intakes are slight, and the rank ordering of individuals appears to be preserved. A moderate seasonal effect is shown for classification of fruits, but only a slight one is seen for micronutrients and berries. Implications for the design of epidemiologic and validation studies are discussed.