Objectives: To examine the influence of eating location on the quality of the diets of Irish children and to compare intakes at home with intakes at other people's homes and intakes outside the home, and to compare intakes at various locations outside the home..
Design: Food intake was measured using a 7-day weighed diary in 594 children from the Republic of Ireland (aged 5-12 years). Details of where the food was prepared or obtained were also recorded..
Results: Eighty-nine per cent of all eating occasions occurred at home; < 6% occurred at both other people's homes and outside the home (takeaway, restaurant, shop, other). The percentage of food energy from fat was above the recommended 35% at other people's homes and outside the home, specifically at takeaways and restaurants. Fibre and micronutrient intakes (per 10 MJ) were significantly higher at home than at the other locations (P < 0.05). Within the 'out' locations, fibre and micronutrient intakes were generally higher at restaurants and lower at shops. High consumers of foods outside the home had a statistically significant, but relatively small decline in nutrient intakes compared with non- or low consumers. Chips and processed potatoes, meat products, savouries, sugars and confectionery, and savoury snacks made the greatest contribution to foods consumed outside the home..
Conclusions: The main focus of nutrition policies to improve the diets of Irish children should be the home environment rather than the food service sector. However, guidelines could call for better food choices outside the home to improve nutrient intakes..