Consumption of various forms of apples is associated with a better nutrient intake and improved nutrient adequacy in diets of children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010

Food Nutr Res. 2015 Oct 5:59:25948. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v59.25948. eCollection 2015.


Background: Consumption of fruit has been associated with a variety of health benefits, yet, 75% of children have usual intakes of total fruit below minimum recommended amounts. Apples are the second most commonly consumed fruit in the United States; however, no studies have examined the impact of apple consumption on nutrient intake and adequacy in children's diets.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the association between apple (various forms) consumption with nutrient intake and nutrient adequacy in a nationally representative sample of children.

Design: Participants were children aged 2-18 years (n=13,339), from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010. Least square means of total energy and nutrient intake, and the percentage of the population below the estimated average requirement (EAR) or above the adequate intake (AI) among apple consumers and non-consumers were examined.

Results: Consumers of total apple products had higher (p<0.01) total intakes of fiber, magnesium, and potassium and lower intakes of total fat, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acid, and sodium than non-consumers. Apple consumers had higher (p<0.01) total sugar intake, but lower intake of added sugars compared to non-consumers. A lower (p<0.01) percentage of apple consumers were below the EAR for 13 of the 16 nutrients studied. Apple consumers had approximately a 10 percentage unit difference below the EAR for calcium and magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E, than non-consumers. The percentage above the AI for fiber was significantly (p<0.0001) higher among total apple consumers (6.24±0.45 g) compared to non-consumers (0.57±0.07 g). The results were similar for individual apple products (i.e. apple juice, applesauce, and whole apples).

Conclusion: Consumption of any forms of apples provided valuable nutrients in the diets of children.

Keywords: NHANES; apple; apple juice; applesauce; children; fruit; nutrient adequacy; nutrient intake.