OBJECTIVES: To compare the dietary intakes of Dutch nutrition and dietetics students with the Dutch RDA and the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (DNFCS), and to assess whether dietary intake changes during education.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional and longitudinal research (2004-2010).
SETTING: Data collection by 7 d dietary record and questionnaire.
SUBJECTS: Dutch nutrition and dietetics students.
RESULTS: Three hundred and fifty-two first-year and 216 fourth-year students were included. One hundred and thirty-three students in three cohorts were assessed twice. Of first-year students, >80 % met the RDA for all macronutrients. Of these students only 37 % met the RDA for fibre and in 43 % intake of saturated fat was too high. Fourth-year students more often met the RDA for fruits (55 %) and vegetables (74 %) compared with first-year students (32 % and 40 %, respectively). Intake of fruits and vegetables of both first- and fourth-year students was much higher than that of DNFCS participants (where 2 % and 7 %, respectively, met the corresponding RDA). Only <25 % of fourth-year students met the RDA for Fe, Se and vitamin D. In the cohorts, dietary intake for all macronutrients stabilised from the first to the fourth year (>80 %). Intakes of dietary fibre, Ca, Mg, Se, riboflavin, niacin, fruits, vegetables and fish improved significantly during education.
CONCLUSIONS: Dietary intake of nutrition and dietetics students is much better than that of DNFCS participants and improved during education. However, there is still a gap between actual dietary intake and the RDA, especially for Fe, Se and vitamin D.