Dietary Intakes in North Carolina Child-Care Centers: Are Children Meeting Current Recommendations?

Sarah C. Ball, Sara E. Benjamin, Dianne S. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether food consumed by children while in center-based child care meets the new MyPyramid food group recommendations for children 2 to 5 years of age. Dietary observation of 117 children from 20 child-care centers throughout North Carolina was conducted. The type and amount of food served to and consumed by children was observed and assessed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDS-R) software (version 2005, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). Portion sizes were then compared to the new MyPyramid food group recommendations to see whether 1/2 to 2/3 (for time spent in full-day child care) of the recommended amounts were consumed. On average, of the five main food groups, children consumed only the 1/2 to 2/3 recommendation for milk. Children also consumed less than 13% of MyPyramid recommendations for whole grains and 7% of MyPyramid recommendations for dark vegetables. Also noteworthy, 50% of milk consumed was whole milk and 75% of the meat consumed was of the high-fat or fried variety. Overall, our data suggest that children are not consuming recommended amounts of whole grains, fruits (excluding 100% fruit juice), or vegetables while attending full-time child care, and are consuming excess amounts of saturated fat and added sugar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-721
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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