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Noodles, sausages or fruits - what foods do children actually eat these days and how much?

15/2015, 22.06.2015

The BfR conducts a representative population survey on the food consumption of children

The Children’s Nutrition Survey to establish food consumption (KiESEL) conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in cooperation with the KiGSS Wave 2 of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has now been launched. As part of this survey, BfR interviewers using a KiESEL van visit 1,000 children from all over Germany. In the course of the programme, the parents are asked about the food consumption of their children who are also weighed and measured. The data is incorporated in the BfR risk assessment of foods. "The aim of the current study is to enable us to base our risk assessments on the current food consumption behaviour of children", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. The last representative national survey to obtain consumption data for children of this age group was conducted twelve years ago (VELS study). The KiESEL study now provides up-to-date data.

The Children’s Nutrition Survey collects data on the food consumption of children from all over Germany aged between six months and five years. The KiESEL study is conducted as a module of the “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents” (“KIGGS Wave 2”) of the RKI. The representative KiESEL study aims to improve the safety of foods. To achieve this objective, current information is required on what and how much children eat. The study results will be incorporated in the BfR risk assessments on additives, pesticide residues and unwanted substances in foods. Thus it is possible to assess more realistically whether, for example, the permitted quantities in sweets or pesticide residues in fruits or vegetables are safe or whether they need to be restricted further.

Only children who have already been interviewed as part of the KiGGS study may participate. A group of all KiGGS participants is randomly selected and invited to take part in the KiESEL study. Over a total of four days, the families keep a nutrition diary documenting all foods and beverages consumed by their children, including quantity / weight information, brand and product packaging.. Following the data collection, the average daily consumption of, for example, animal-based foods and vegetable foods are analysed in terms of sex, age or region. The data can also be linked to the data compiled as part of the KiGGS study. It is expected that the first results will be available in 2018.

Further information is available (in german) on the BfR website at http://www.kiesel-studie.html

Information on KiGGS can be found on the KiGGS website http://www.kiggs-studie.de/english/home.html

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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