This study identifies the number of servings per dish children usually eat at school and home. We also examined the implications for nutrition education that encourages children to check their own diet by counting the number of servings by using the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top.
A total of 2184 dishes were obtained from 7-day weighed food records completed by 109 school children in the 5th grade in Nagano schools and by 46 children in Tottori schools to analyze the dishes they consumed for breakfast and dinner at home. In addition, a total of 261 dishes from school lunch menus in Tokyo, Saitama, and Hiroshima during either October or November of 2006 were collected and analyzed.
The number of servings of fish and meat in dishes at school, and of white rice, vegetable salad, marinated vegetables, stir-fried vegetables, fish, and meat in dishes at home were fewer than the number of servings indicated by the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top. Although the minimum in the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top is 1 serving, the children tended to eat dishes in a smaller serving size: 40.6% of side dishes, 37.2% of fruit, 19.7% of main dishes, and 14.9% of staple dishes consumed at home contained between 0.25 and 0.67 serving which were categorized as 0.5 serving. Similarly, 83.3% of fruit, 20.6% of side dishes, 17.1% of main dishes, and 11.6% of staple dishes contained 0.5 serving in school lunches. Servings of bread and noodles for school lunch differed among the regions investigated.
Introducing 0.5 serving to the measurements is considered to have been useful to more precisely grasp the children's regular diet. Dish examples in the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top should be shown with a serving size appropriate for children as well as for adults.