Are Food and Beverage Purchases in Households with Preschoolers Changing?

A Longitudinal Analysis from 2000 to 2011


      U.S. dietary studies from 2003 to 2010 show decreases in children’s caloric intake. We examined purchases of consumer packaged foods/beverages in the U.S. between 2000 and 2011 among households with children aged 2–5 years.


      To describe changes in consumer packaged goods (CPG) purchases between 2000 and 2011 after adjusting for economic indicators, and explore differences by race, education, and household income level.


      CPG purchase data were obtained for 42,753 U.S. households with one or more child aged 2–5 years using the Nielsen Homescan Panel. Top sources of purchased calories were grouped, and random effects regression was used to model the relationship between calories purchased from each group and race, female head of household education, and household income. Models adjusted for household composition, market-level unemployment rate, prices, and quarter, with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons (α=0.05).


      Between 2000 and 2011, adjusted total calories purchased from foods (–182 kcal/day) and beverages (–100 kcal/day) declined significantly. Decreases in purchases of milk (–40 kcal); soft drinks (–27 kcal/day); juice and juice drinks (–24 kcal/day); grain-based desserts (–24 kcal/day); savory snacks (–17 kcal/day); and sweet snacks and candy (–13 kcal/day) were among the major changes. Changes in CPG purchases differed significantly by race, female head of household education, and household income.


      Trends in CPG purchases suggest that solid fats and added sugars are decreasing in the food supply of U.S. preschoolers. Pronounced differences by race, education, and household income persist.
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