Food consumption pattern and obesity in preschool children in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil

<div><p>ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate the association between food consumption patterns and obesity in preschool children in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil. Methods Cross-sectional, population-based nested within a live-birth cohort study of 813 children, which has started in 2004 in Feira de Santana, Bahia. The anthropometric status among children under four years of age was evaluated based on their body mass index; obesity/severe obesity was defined as a Z-score >+2. The Food Frequency Questionnaire was used to identify dietary patterns using principal components analysis. The association between obesity and food consumption patterns was assessed using Pearson’s Chi-squared test and logistic regression, adopting p<0.05 to denote statistical significance. Results Obesity was detected in 12.7% of the children investigated. Four food consumption patterns were identified: dietary pattern 1 (milk and other dairy products, vegetables and tubers, cereals, legumes, fruits, and fish); dietary pattern 2 (deep-fried or baked snacks, soft drinks/artificial fruit juices, oils and fats, sweets, and coffee/tea); dietary pattern 3 (encased meats, fast food, ketchup/mayonnaise, and eggs); and, dietary pattern 4 (chicken and red meats). Obesity was statistically associated with high adherence to the dietary pattern 3 (OR=1.92; 95%CI=1.01-3.66). Conclusion The results obtained showed that the high intake of energy-dense foods (dietary pattern 3) was a contributing factor to childhood obesity. These data reinforce the need for public policies and food education programs in health units and schools, aiming to change children’s eating habits, significant predictors of nutritional problems.</p></div>