Objective: To estimate flavonoid intake in the Australian population.
Design: Flavonoid consumption was estimated from 24-hour recall data and apparent consumption data using US Department of Agriculture flavonoid composition data.
Subjects: The National Nutrition Survey 1995 assessed dietary intake (24-hour recall) in a representative sample (n=13,858) of the Australian population aged 2 years and over.
Results: Analysis of the 24-hour recall data indicated an average adult intake (>18 years) of 454 mg day(-1) (92% being flavan-3-ols). Apple was the highest quercetin source until age 16-18 years, after which onion became an increasingly important prominent source. Variations in hesperetin consumption reflected orange intake. Apple, apricot and grapes were the major sources of epicatechin and catechin for children, but subsided as wine consumption increased in adulthood. Wine was the main source of malvidin. Naringenin intake remained static as a percentage of total flavonoid intake until age 19-24 years, corresponding to orange intake, and then increased with age from 19-24 years, corresponding to grapefruit intake. Apparent dietary flavonoid consumption was 351 mg person(-1) day(-1), of which 75% were flavan-3-ols. Black tea was the major flavonoid source (predominantly flavan-3-ols) representing 70% of total intake. Hesperetin and naringenin were the next most highly consumed flavonoids, reflecting orange intake. Both 24-hour recall and apparent consumption data indicated that apigenin intake was markedly higher in Australia than reported in either the USA or Denmark, presumably due to differences in consumption data for leaf and stalk vegetables and parsley.
Conclusions: Tea was the major dietary flavonoid source in Australia. Flavonoid consumption profiles and flavonoid sources varied according to age. More consistent methodologies, survey tools validated for specific flavonoid intakes and enhanced local flavonoid content data for foods would facilitate better international comparisons of flavonoid intake.