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    Sep 30, 2016

    Most children here fall short in whole grain intake

    SIX out of 10 children in Singapore are not eating any whole grains, a new study has revealed.

    The islandwide survey of 561 children in Singapore aged six to 12 was conducted by Newcastle University International Singapore.

    Whole grains contain all parts of the grain: The germ, which includes vitamins such as B and E; the endosperm, which provides energy; and the bran, which is the fibre-rich outer protective shell.

    Refined "white" grains contain only the endosperm.

    The study found that 94 per cent of children surveyed here do not meet the United States' recommended daily intake of 48g of whole grains.

    The study claim that people who regularly eat whole grains tend to have a better nutrient intake, healthier weight and are less likely to have diabetes and certain types of cancer.

    For children who do consume whole grains, bread and rice were the most common sources. The two food products were tied at 29 per cent, the study found.

    Breakfast cereals were a source of whole grains for 18 per cent of children surveyed.

    The survey, said to be the first of its kind studying whole grain consumption habits of children here, is a joint venture between food companies General Mills, Nestle and Cereal Partners Worldwide, which makes breakfast cereals.

    Singaporeans are becoming increasingly open to healthier food choices such as whole grains.

    Wholegrain rice sales increased from about 2 per cent in 2008 to about 5 per cent last year, The Straits Times reported in June.

    The topic of whole grains also took the spotlight earlier in May when The Straits Times reported that the preference for white rice was the Health Promotion Board's main concern in fighting diabetes.

    In the months since, supermarket chains such as NTUC FairPrice have rolled out promotions for wholegrain rice options, with some chains reporting an increase in wholegrain rice sales while sales for white rice fell.