OBJECTIVE: To recognize the adequacy of dietary energy consumption and macronutrients of children under the age of six in the urban zone of Pelotas, in Southern Brazil. METHODS: A cross-sectional study that comprises the fourth evaluation of a temporal series study conducted in the city of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 2008. The sample consisted of 799 children under six years of age. In order to evaluate caloric intake rates and macronutrient percentage of contribution to the overall food diet calories, the dietary reference intakes (DRI) of the Institute of Medicine were used. These analyses included descriptions of the sample and chi-square test in order to assess associations at a 5% significance level. RESULTS: The deficient caloric intake was prevalent among male (58.0%) and female (63.0%) children aged six months or less. An excessive caloric intake was noted in children aged 7 to 12 months and one to two years: 61.3 and 73.5% for boys, and 56.0 and 74.1% for girls, respectively. Among the children aged three years or more, 44.9% of boys and of 47.4% of girls presented proper caloric intake rates for their age group. The energy intake deriving from macronutrients was adequate regarding carbohydrates and proteins; and 54.5% of the studied children aged between one and three years presented deficient intake of lipids. CONCLUSIONS: The need of healthy dieting practices stimulation was clear in order to balance the energetic intake rates and the distribution of macronutrients consumption within this target age group.
energy intake; macronutrients; children