The first global estimates of the intake of meat, fish, seafood, eggs, and milk by young children and adolescents – representing 93% of the world’s child population – shows that greater amounts were consumed by those living in cities and by those with more educated parents.
The study of animal source foods (ASF) between 1990 – 2018 highlights substantial variation by type of animal source food, region, country, age, education, and urbanicity. Children and teens in 185 countries were studied.
In 2018, total ASF consumption was the highest in Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, and the lowest in Uganda, India, Kenya and Bangladesh. That year, the global mean intake of total ASF (from all sources) among children and teens was approximately 2 servings/day, but with variation across 7 geographic regions – ranging from less than 1 serving per day in South Asia to more than 4 servings per day in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Researchers – including PHRI Research Fellow Victoria Miller (first author), who is also a visiting scientist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University – used data from the Global Dietary Database (GDD) and Bayesian hierarchical models to quantify global, regional and national ASF intakes.
The study was published today in Nature Food, with other members of the Global Dietary Database group.
An important dietary influence on the health of children and teens, ASF are rich in amino acids, fatty acids and several micronutrients of concern, including iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin A, the intake of which is widely deficient in lower-income countries.
Global animal source food intake was similar in boys and girls but higher among children and adolescents with more educated parents (especially for milk, eggs, and seafood) and urban residence (especially for processed meat, milk, eggs, and yogurt).
Between 1990 and 2018, global animal source food intake by children and adolescents increased by half a serving per week, with increases in all world regions except Sub-Saharan Africa.
“These findings can inform policy to address childhood malnutrition through targeted ASF consumption programmes,” the authors write.
Read more in Nature Food.