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Survey of diet among children in Scotland

Family eating in lounge
Researchers: Louise Marryat
Published: July 2012

Aim

We wanted to monitor progress towards the Scottish children’s sugar targets, measure fat intakes among children living in Scotland and find out what influences children’s food purchasing behaviours.

Findings

  • Children are eating more than the recommended levels of non-milk extrinsic sugars, total fat and saturated fatty acids.
  • 16% of primary and 42% of secondary school children purchase food or drink on their way to or from school.
  • 97% of children had access to places selling food or drinks outside of school at lunchtime and 73% had access at break times.
  • 6 in 10 children, purchase food or drinks outside of school at lunch time and 2 in 10 do so during break times.
  • Children living in more deprived areas are consuming more non-diet soft drinks and less fruit and vegetables than those living elsewhere.
  • Children living in more deprived areas were more likely than those living elsewhere to purchase food or drinks on their way to or from school and outside of school during lunchtime.

Methodology

We recruited children aged 3 to 16 years old from the HMRC’s Child Benefit records and asked them to fill out two questionnaires (one on food frequency and one on food purchasing) and do an interview where we took their height, weight and waist circumference. We spoke to older children about their food choices and eating habits outside school.

             

Read the report