Volume 65, Issue 5 (3 2007)                   Tehran Univ Med J 2007, 65(5): 43-47 | Back to browse issues page

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Mehrabani H H, Mirmiran P, Baygi F, Azizi F. The effect of meal frequency on adolescent nutrient requirements. Tehran Univ Med J. 2007; 65 (5) :43-47
URL: http://tumj.tums.ac.ir/article-1-786-en.html
Abstract:   (4771 Views)
Background: Rapid tissue growth and development during puberty increases the need for energy and nutrients. On the other hand, the prevalence of obesity is accelerating among adolescents. Controversies exist regarding meal frequency, obesity and adequacy of nutrients in particular, a more frequent snacking pattern has been associated with overconsumption of calories in children and adolescents and also with greater body weight. We investigated the meal frequency of adolescents in relation to meeting nutrient requirements.
Methods: This cross-sectional study, in the framework of the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study (TLGS), included 367 boys and girls aged 10-19 years that were randomly selected. Dietary recalls for 48 hours were gathered and participants divided to three groups according to meal frequency group 1, 2 and 3 with <4 meals, 4-6 meals and ≥ 7 meals, respectively. The nutrient intakes were compared with the dietary reference intake (DRI). ANCOVA, Bonferroni and partial correlation by adjusting total energy intake were used for statistical analyses.
Results: The mean age of these 169 boys and 198 girls was 14±3 years old. The weight of the first group was higher by one-third in boys (54±18 vs. 45±13 kilogram, p<0.05). There were no other significant differences in anthropometric indices of the studied subjects, nor was there any difference in the vegetable and meat intake between the groups. But the first group had lower intake of fruits and milk groups (p<0.01). Individuals in all three groups had inadequate intake of calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, pyridoxine compared with the DRI, although the vitamin C and riboflavin intakes were adequate. Higher meal frequency was associated with sufficient intake of magnesium, vitamin C, riboflavin and pyridoxine.
Conclusion: Adolescents tend to have inadequate intakes of calcium, pyridoxine, zinc, copper, all of which are essential for health and proper growth. Increasing the number of meals per day, without increasing energy intake could help to boost the quality of the diet.
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