A new study has found 95 per cent of Australian children over two exceeded their recommended intake of saturated fat.
Children generally had adequate consumption of iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin C, but the number of those consuming more than the 10 per cent dietary intake of saturated fat, as recommended, was alarming.
As was the finding that one third of those surveyed were overweight or obese.
The University of Adelaide study, which was published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia, also found that children were lacking in many essential nutrients.
Almost 70 per cent of children did not have enough Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, which is essential for brain and eye development, and over 80 per cent did not consume enough dietary fibre.
The poor nutritional intake was not subject to socioeconomic backgrounds, with nearly all children from rich and poor homes consuming too much saturated fat.
Recent studies have found that children’s neighbourhoods to contribute to obesity rates, with children from underprivileged backgrounds more likely to be overweight than their socioeconomically advantaged counterparts.
The latest study found that most of the saturated fat the preschoolers were consuming came from dairy products, and the authors of the study have urged parents to consider feeding low-fat dairy products to children over two.
The research stretched over two years, and involved door-knocking more than 13 000 homes in Adelaide.
Children were then measured, blood samples were taken, and the food they consumed over the three-day period weighed and recorded.