To describe and compare food and nutrient intakes in New Zealand (NZ) children on schooldays and non-schooldays.
Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the NZ 2002 Children’s Nutrition Survey. Dietary intake was assessed using computer-assisted multi-pass 24 h dietary recalls in the home. Data were adjusted for survey weightings to be representative of the NZ population. The effect of day category on nutrient intake, and likelihood of consumption of food categories were determined using linear and logistic regression.
NZ homes and schools.
A total of 2572 children (538 non-schooldays and 2034 schooldays) at the age of 5–14 years.
There were differences in the proportion consuming some food groups between schooldays and non-schooldays, although the majority of nutrient intakes including energy did not differ by day category. Mean cholesterol intake was higher on non-schooldays; dietary fibre and available carbohydrate, in particular sucrose and fructose, were higher on schooldays. Hot chips were twice as likely to be consumed on a non-schoolday. Soft drink consumption was higher on non-schooldays for Māori/New Zealand European and others and powdered drinks/cordial consumption did not vary by day category. More children consumed snack bars (normal weight, obese), fruit, sandwiches, biscuits/crackers and snack foods on schooldays. There was no difference in consumption of pies/sausage rolls by day category.
The proportion of consumers of a variety of foods differed significantly between non-schooldays and schooldays; few nutrient intakes differed. The present study indicates that family food, wherever it is consumed, is the mainstay of nutrition for NZ schoolchildren.