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Intake of energy-dense snack foods and drinks among Dutch children aged 7–12 years: how many, how much, when, where and which?

  • Dorus WM Gevers (a1), Stef PJ Kremers (a1), Nanne K de Vries (a1) (a2) and Patricia van Assema (a1)

To describe the energy-dense snack food (EDSF) and energy-dense drink (EDD) consumption of children in the Netherlands and investigate subgroup differences. The amounts consumed, eating occasions, places of consumption and consumed types are reported.


Twenty-four hour dietary recall data were used to describe the EDSF and EDD consumption. Subgroup differences concerning these intakes were identified with ANCOVA.


Dutch National Food Consumption Survey 2007–2010.


Children (n 860) aged 7–12 years.


The mean number of EDSF events was 3·3 (sd 1·6) per day, yielding 1569·7 (sd 928·7) kJ. Average EDD consumption was 594·2 (sd 342·3) ml/d, yielding 737·2 (sd 495·9) kJ. Over 90 % of the children consumed more energy from non-core foods per day than recommended. Differences in EDSF and EDD consumption were found between several subgroups. Most importantly, we found higher intakes among older children and children with low educated mothers. Almost half of the EDSF events took place in the afternoon and at home. Cookies and sweets were consumed during half of the EDSF events. Almost one-third of the EDD were consumed in the afternoon. The majority of these drinks were consumed at home and most were soft drinks.


The results demonstrate that snack food and drink consumption is highly prevalent among Dutch children. Health promotion efforts addressing these behaviours are warranted and the present study could accelerate these initiatives. Focusing on children with low educated parents and on snacking at home after school offers the greatest potential to reduce snack food and drink intakes.

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