Children's meals at restaurants in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, have poor nutritional quality

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Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism


© 2018 IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. BACKGROUND: Many people in the UAE eat out frequently, but there is limited knowledge about the nutritional quality of the consumed meals. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional quality of children's meals in Abu Dhabi restaurants, considering deep-frying and food group content. METHODS: In this cross-sectional pilot study, popular food outlets were identified using an online customer rating application. Children menus were collected and the meal quality was assessed. A healthy meal should not be deep-fried and contain at least 2 of the following food groups: Low-fat dairy/lean protein/whole grain/fruits/vegetables (criteria adapted from the "Kids Live Well Nutritional Criteria" by the National Restaurant Association, US). RESULTS: 58 restaurants were included, of which 29 had children menus, offering a total of 209 meals. 60% of the meals had beverages included in the price: 13% being water or milk. Overall, 78.9% of the assessed meals did not meet the cut-offs for healthy meals. CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study, a majority of children's meals in Abu Dhabi's food outlets had poor nutritional quality. The findings suggest a need for more extensive studies around meal offerings at restaurants.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Malin Garemo, Zayed University
Afnan Al Naimi, Zayed University