Maternal and family characteristics associated with the Healthy Eating Index among low socioeconomic status Brazilian children
The assessment of the factors that influence children's diets is important for supporting the development of public health policies for the prevention of diet‐related diseases. The present study aimed to evaluate the diet quality of preschoolers by using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and to identify maternal and family characteristics associated with this score and its components.
The present study comprised a cohort study conducted with 345 low socioeconomic status children from São Leopoldo in southern Brazil aged 6 months and 3–4 years old. Dietary data were collected through 24‐h recalls and diet quality was evaluated according to the HEI.
The mean (SD) total HEI score was 65.7 (11.2). Only 9.6% (n = 33) of the children had a good diet. No significant association was detected between the overall diet quality of children and the characteristics. The prevalence of children who achieved the 75th percentile of the scores for grains [prevalence ratio (PR) = 0.65; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.43–0.98] and total fat (PR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.69–0.93) was lower among children whose families had higher incomes, whereas the prevalence for grains was lower in those whose fathers were employed (PR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.34–0.81). The prevalence for diet variety (PR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.01–2.05) and milk (P = 1.18; 95% CI = 1.04–1.35) was higher and for total fat (PR = 0.83; 95% CI = 0.70–0.98) and saturated fat (PR = 0.76; 95% CI = 0.59–0.98) was lower among children whose mothers had higher levels of education.
The total HEI score in these children indicates that compliance with dietary guidelines is generally poor. Although the overall diet quality did not show variation across maternal and family characteristics, some components of the diet were affected by these features.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2013