Snacking patterns according to location among Northern Ireland children

Maeve A. Kerr, Tracy A. Mccrorie, Kirsten L. Rennie, Julie M. W. Wallace, M. Barbara E. Livingstone

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective:To examine the influence of location on snack intake among Northern Ireland (NI) children aged 5-8 years.

    Methods: Dietary intake was assessed by 7-day weighed dietary records. Parents/children self defined type (meal/snack) and location of eating occasions. Locations were grouped as 'Home' or 'Out of home' (inclusive of school). Children (5-8 years; n=113) were recruited through primary schools in the Coleraine area of NI.

    Results: Snacks consumed at home contributed 20% to total energy intake (TEI), while out of home snacking accounted for 7% of TEI. Snack food choice was markedly similar in and out of home with sugar confectionery, milks and cakes ranked as the top three choices. Foods contributing significantly more to out of home snack food consumption than to home snack food consumption were milks and dairy products (P < 0.001), cakes and buns (P=0.001), crisps and savory snacks (P < 0.001) and sugar confectionery (P=0.01). Portion sizes of snacks consumed out of home were generally higher than that at home, significantly so in the case of milks and non-diet carbonated soft drinks (P < 0.01, both cases).

    Conclusions: The current study shows the key importance of the home as the main location for snacking among children aged 5-8 years, albeit that snack food choices both in and out of home were remarkably similar, and portion sizes of out of home snacks generally higher. Given the evidence that dietary behavior tracks from a young age, implementing healthy snacking behavior among primary school-aged children, particularly within the home environment, should be a priority.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-249
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational journal of pediatric obesity
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2010


    • children
    • snacking
    • location
    • portion size
    • home environment


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