Submitted to: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 2, 2004
Publication Date: April 2, 2005
Citation: Cleveland, L., Goldman, J., Moshfegh, A. 2005. Contribution of snacks to food and nutrient intakes in the United States [abstract]. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. 19(4):A88. Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine changes in snacking behavior over the past 25 years, and effects on food and nutrient intakes. Data were from individuals 2 years of age and older from 3 nationally representative surveys: the 1977-78 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (n=30,770), the 1994-98 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (n=21,159), and the 2001-02 What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n=9,883). Comparisons were based on one 24-hour dietary recall administered in person by a trained interviewer. Snacking increased markedly over the 25 years. Between 1977-78 and 2001-02, the percent of the U.S. population eating 3 or more snacks a day increased 4-fold from 11% to 42%. In 2001-02, snacks contributed 26% of total calories. Generally, their percentage contribution to caloric intake was larger than their percentage contribution to intakes of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. A notable exception was total sugars, with 39% consumed at snacking occasions. These sugars diluted the nutrient density of snacks. Snacks made substantial contributions to intake of food groups as defined by the Food Guide Pyramid. Over 1/3rd of fruit servings and about 1/4th of grain and dairy servings were eaten at snacks. Snacks are an increasingly important part of U.S. diets. Efforts are warranted to improve snacking choices. This research can be used by nutrition educators and scientists who develop nutrition policy and education programs to enhance the dietary status of Americans.