Dietary strategies for achieving adequate vitamin D and iron intakes in young children in Ireland
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BACKGROUND: Inadequate intakes of vitamin D and iron have been reported in young children in Ireland. The present study aimed to identify the main foods determining vitamin D and iron intakes and to model the impact of dietary strategies to improve adequacy of these micronutrients in young children. METHODS: The present study is based on the Irish National Pre-School Nutrition Survey (NPNS), which estimated food and nutrient intakes in a representative sample (n = 500) of children (aged 1-4 years) using a 4-day weighed food record. Dietary strategies were modelled using DaDiet© software (Dazult Ltd, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland) and the usual intake distribution, prevalence of inadequate intakes and risk of excessive intakes were estimated using the National Cancer Institute method. RESULTS: Fortified foods and nutritional supplements were the key foods influencing the intakes of vitamin D and iron. Adding a 5 μg day-1 vitamin D supplement, fortifying cow's milk (CM) with vitamin D or replacing CM with growing-up milk (GUM) would modestly increase intakes of vitamin D. A combined strategy of fortifying CM with vitamin D or replacing CM with GUM plus a 5 μg day-1 vitamin D supplement would increase mean intakes of vitamin D (from 3.5 μg day-1 at baseline to ≥11 μg day-1 ) and substantially reduce the prevalence of inadequate intakes (from >95% to 12-36%). Fortifying CM with iron or replacing CM with GUM would increase mean intakes of iron (from 7.3 mg day-1 to >10 mg day-1 ), achieving adequate intakes across all ages. CONCLUSIONS: Based on real food consumption data in a representative sample of Irish children, we have shown that through targeted dietary strategies adequate intakes of iron are achievable and intakes of vitamin D could be greatly improved.
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