To examine if and how ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC) contribute to the quality of the diet of children, adolescents and young adults in a Mediterranean setting.
A random sample of 3534 subjects aged 2 to 24 years in Spain was studied. Food and nutrient intakes were determined by a 24 hour recall. RTEC consumption was assessed by a quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Additional questions on socioeconomic level and nutritional knowledge were administered. Cereal consumption was classified into non-consumers and daily intakes between 1 and 20g, 21 and 40g, and more than 40g. After excluding the underreporters the final sample consisted of 2852 individuals.
About half of the population (49.8%) reported eating RTEC. Macronutrient profile improved with increasing cereal consumption. Intakes of thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6 increased significantly with increasing consumption of RTEC in all age-sex groups, whereas niacin and folate intake improved in almost all groups and calcium, iron and vitamin D in at least half of the groups. Except for magnesium, vitamin B12 and vitamin E in males, consumption of RTEC was significantly associated with increased coverage of the daily nutrient requirements for all micronutrients studied. Higher levels of RTEC consumption was associated with a greater consumption of dairy products, and related to better breakfast quality.
Level of RTEC consumption is associated with a better nutritional profile in the diets of Spanish children, adolescents and young adults and a lower risk for inadequate micronutrient intakes. RTEC consumers have better quality breakfasts, in terms of both food choices as well as energy and nutrient content.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):135-43. doi: . Epub .