Minimum dietary diversity and consumption of ultra-processed foods among Brazilian children 6-23 months of age

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The study aimed to estimate the prevalence of minimum dietary diversity (MDD) and consumption of ultra-processed foods in children 6-23 months of age according to sociodemographic variables. Three indicators of complementary feeding of 4,354 children from the Brazilian National Survey on Child Nutrition (ENANI-2019) were built based on a questionnaire about food consumption on the day before the interview: MDD, consumption of ultra-processed foods, and MDD without the consumption of ultra-processed foods. The prevalence and 95%CI were calculated, stratified by macroregion; race/ skin color, education and work status of the mother or caregiver; enrollment in the Brazilian Income Transfer Program; household food security; sanitation; and child enrollment in daycare/school. The overall prevalence of MDD was 63.4%, with lower prevalences among children who lived in the North Region (54.8%), whose mothers or caregivers had 0-7 years of education (50.6%), and lived under moderate or severe food insecurity (52.6%). Ultra-processed foods were consumed by 80.5% of the children, with the highest prevalence in the North Region (84.5%). The prevalence of MDD without ultra-processed foods was 8.4% and less prevalent among children with black mothers or caregivers (3.6%) and among those whose mother or caregiver had 8-10 years of education (3.6%). The most frequently consumed food groups from the MDD indicator were grains, roots and tubers (90.2%), dairy products (81%) and those from ultra-processed food were sweet or salty cookies/crackers (51.3%) and instant flours (41.4%). The ubiquitous presence of ultra-processed foods in the diets of Brazilian children and the low frequency of diversified foods, especially among the most vulnerable populations, indicate the need to strengthen policies and programs to ensure adequate and healthy infant nutrition.




de Aquino Lacerda, E. M., Bertoni, N., Alves-Santos, N. H., Vertulli Carneiro, L. B., Schincaglia, R. M., Boccolini, C. S., … Kac, G. (2023). Minimum dietary diversity and consumption of ultra-processed foods among Brazilian children 6-23 months of age. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 39(S2).

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