Intake and sources of added sugars among Australian children and adolescents
Purpose To examine the intake and sources of added sugars (AS) of Australian children and adolescents, and compare their intake of free sugars (FS) to the recommended limit set by the World Health Organization (% energy from FS). Method Data of 4140 children and adolescents aged 2-16 years with plausible intakes based on 2 x 24 h recalls from the 2007 Australian National Children Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey were used. AS content of foods was estimated based on a published method. Intakes of AS and FS, as well as food sources of AS, were calculated. One-way ANOVA was used for comparisons between age groups and gender. Results The mean (SD) AS intake was 58.9 (35.1) g/day, representing 11.9 (5.6) % of daily energy intake and 46.9 (17.5) % of daily total sugars intake. More than 80 % of the subjects had % energy from FS > 10 %. Significant increasing trends for AS intake, % energy from AS, % energy from FS across age groups were observed. Sugar-sweetened beverages (19.6 %), cakes, biscuits, pastries and batter-based products (14.3 %), and sugar and sweet spreads (10.5 %) were the top three contributors of AS intake in the whole sample. Higher contribution of AS from sugar-sweetened beverages was observed in adolescents (p trend < 0.001). Conclusions A large proportion of Australian youths are consuming excessive amounts of energy from AS. Since the main sources of AS were energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, interventions which target the reduction in these foods would reduce energy and AS intake with minimal impact to core nutrient intake.