Evaluation of the Proximity of Singaporean Children’s Dietary Habits to Food-Based Dietary Guidelines

Iain A. Brownlee*, Jasmine Low, Naageswari Duriraju, Mavis Chun, Jessica Xiu Yan Ong, Mia Eng Tay, Gilly A. Hendrie, Lourdes Santos-Merx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Dietary habits in children may not only impact current health status but could also shape future, lifelong dietary choices. Dietary intake data in Singaporean children are limited. The current study aimed to define the overall diet quality of Singaporean children using an existing cross-sectional dataset and to consider how demographic factors (i.e., body mass index (BMI) status, ethnicity, age, and sex) were associated with these scores. Existing, cross-sectional dietary data (n = 561 children aged 6–12 years, collected in 2014–2015) from duplicate 24-h recalls were assessed for diet quality using an index based on the Singaporean Health Promotion Board dietary guidelines. Total diet quality scores were calculated from ten different components (frequencies of rice and alternatives, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and alternatives, dairy and alternatives, total fat, saturated fat, sodium intake, and added sugars). Association with demographic factors and BMI category was evaluated by one-way multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) tests, with Bonferroni post hoc analyses. Median (interquartile range) total diet quality scores were 65.4 (57.1–73.0). Median scores for whole grains (0.0, 0.0–33.4), fruits (24.1, 0.0–65.3), vegetables (36.5, 10.4-89.8), and sodium (58.4, 0.0–100.0) intake were frequently sub-optimal. Children of Malay ethnic origin had statistically lower total diet quality scores ((55.3, 47.5–60.3) vs. other ethnic groups (combined median 65.4 (57.1, 73.0); p < 0.001). These findings highlight the need for continuing efforts to improve dietary intake in young Singaporeans and for longitudinal dietary monitoring in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2615
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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