Revista de Nutrição
Print version ISSN 1415-5273
TOLONI, Maysa Helena de Aguiar; LONGO-SILVA, Giovana; GOULART, Rita Maria Monteiro and TADDEI, José Augusto de Aguiar Carrazedo. Introduction of processed and traditional foods to the diets of children attending public daycare centers in São Paulo, Brazil. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2011, vol.24, n.1, pp. 61-70. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732011000100006.
OBJECTIVE: This study described and discussed the introduction of processed foods to the diets of children attending the nurseries of daycare centers, considering the recommendation of the Ministry of Health for a healthy diet. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 270 children attending nurseries of eight public and not-for-profit daycare centers in São Paulo city. A pre-coded and structured 11-question questionnaire was used to evaluate the introduction of processed foods. For each type of food analyzed, the corresponding age in months was recorded as well as assessed as to whether it was in agreement with the 8th step of the Dietary Guide. The chi-square test was used for determining the associations. The studied variables were mother's age, education level and working status and family income. RESULTS: The results showed that approximately 2/3 of the studied children under 12 months of age were offered foods with obesogenic potential, such as instant noodles, snacks, sandwich cookies, powdered juice, soft drinks and candy/lollipop/chocolate bars. Children born to younger mothers, with low education level and lower income are most vulnerable to the feeding error of introducing processed foods prematurely. CONCLUSION: These results show that educational and preventive actions should be proposed to build healthy eating habits from childhood. Efficient and in-depth campaigns aiming at promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables are also needed, taking into consideration the cultural, behavioral and emotional factors associated with diet.
Keywords : Industrialized foods; Feeding behavior; Food consumption; Eating habits; Infant nutrition.