A comparison of children's dietary information using a workbook recall method to reported intake and observation

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of the study was to describe the usefulness of 24-hour dietary information obtained from 42 children between the ages of 9 and 11 using a workbook type of recall method by comparing selected aspects to parental reported intakes and researcher's observations.

The results indicated no significant differences between means of the parents' reports and the children's recalls for the 24-hour period for selected nutrients and cholesterol. However, the mean number of items recalled by the children in the breads, non-dairy beverages, condiments and fats/oils groups were significantly lower than the parent's reports indicating potential underreporting of these types of food items.

For the lunch period, children reported significantly lower mean intakes for vitamin A and calcium than the researcher. Parents reported significantly higher mean calories for breads and fats/oils than the researcher while children reported significantly lower mean calories for condiments than the researcher.

There were significantly lower mean number of items reported by the parents for entrees, vegetables and snacks/desserts when compared to the researcher's records. Children's recalls of the mean number of items for entrees, breads, dairy foods/beverages and condiments were significantly lower than the researcher's records.

The meals and snacks in the study were not all observed by the parents. Analysis of school lunch, brown bag lunch, the before dinner snack and breakfast indicated differences for selected nutrients and cholesterol and the number of items by food group when comparing the parents' observed and unobserved reports to the children's recalls and researcher's records. There was a limited number of respondents reporting in various food groups. The results indicate the need for further research into the factors which affect parental reporting when observing or not observing children' s intake.