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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


FERNANDEZ A, Margarita et al. Differences in Diversity of Foodstuffs Consumed by Preschool Children Residing in Low-Income Urban Neighborhoods in Selected Latin American Cities. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2015, vol.42, n.1, pp.37-41. ISSN 1683-9803.

Introduction: Consumption of a limited variety of foodstuffs can entail a risk of nutritional deficiencies or excesses in preschool children. Objective: To study differences in the diversity of foodstuffs consumed by preschool children in low-income communities in selected cities in Latin America.  Methodology: We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional study. Mothers completed a survey about the variety of foods consumed by their children (foodstuff-consumption frequency method) from a list of foodstuffs available in their respective local markets. Participants: Preschool children who presented at medical treatment centers or attended kindergartens in, and were residents of, San Salvador (El Salvador); Panama City (Panama); Asuncion (Paraguay); and Santiago (Chile) were included. Results: The number of single food items available per city ranged between 111 and 177; those consumed by children either usually, seasonally or occasionally, ranged between 65 and 86, higher in San Salvador than in the other cities (ANOVA, p <0.0001). As a proportion of foods available for every group of foods, fruits consumed ranged between 44-65%, vegetables between 34-56% and fish-sea foods between 8-46%. Additionally, no significant differences in the amount of foods consumed was found between healthy, overweight or undernourished children. Conclusions: The preschool children in the study groups consume a limited variety of the individual foods locally available, particularly for fish/seafood, vegetables, and fruits.  Routine consumption of calorie-dense foods and sweetened drinks was also found.

Keywords : Food consumption; nutritional status; preschool age; social class.

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