Refined sugar intake in Australian children

Shawn M. Somerset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the intake of refined sugar in Australian children and adolescents, aged 2-18 years. Design: Foods contributing to total sugar intake were identified using data from the National Nutrition Survey 1995 (NNS95), the most recent national dietary survey of the Australian population. The top 100 foods represented means of 85% (range 79-91%) and 82% (range 78-85%) of total sugar intake for boys and girls, respectively. Using published Australian food composition data (NUTTAB95), the proportion of total sugar being refined sugar was estimated for each food. Where published food composition data were not available, calculations from ingredients and manufacturer's information were used. Subjects: The NNS95 assessed the dietary intake of a random sample of the Australian population, aged 2-18 years (n = 3007). Results: Mean daily intakes of refined sugar ranged from 26.9 to 78.3 g for 2-18-year-old girls, representing 6.6-14.8% of total energy intake. Corresponding figures for boys were 27.0 to 81.6g and 8.0-14.0%, respectively. Of the 10 highest sources of refined sugar for each age group, sweetened beverages, especially cola-type beverages, were the most prominent. Conclusion: Refined sugar is an important contributor to dietary energy in Australian children. Sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and cordials were substantial sources of refined sugar and represent a potential target for campaigns to reduce refined sugar intake. Better access to information on the amounts of sugar added to processed food is essential for appropriate monitoring of this important energy source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-813
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


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