Early feeding practices and consumption of ultraprocessed foods at 6 y of age: Findings from the 2004 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objective The aim of this study was to examine the association between early feeding practices and consumption of ultraprocessed foods in children at age 6 y. Methods This was a prospective cohort study using data from 3427 children who participated in the 2004 Pelotas Cohort Study and who had available food frequency questionnaire information at 6 y. Information about exclusive and total breastfeeding duration as well as age at introduction of semisolid and solid foods was used to define early feeding practices. Consumption of ultraprocessed foods was defined as proportion of total daily energy intake that came from ultraprocessed foods at age 6 y. Crude and adjusted linear regression models were employed to analyze the effect of early feeding practices on ultraprocessed foods consumption. Results It was determined that 40.3% of total daily energy intake at 6 y came from ultraprocessed foods. In crude linear regression models, early feeding practices (exclusive and total breastfeeding duration, and age at introduction of semisolid and solid foods) were negatively associated with ultraprocessed foods consumption. After adjustment, only exclusive breastfeeding duration and age at introduction of solid foods remained associated with consumption of ultraprocessed foods, although the observed effects size was small. Children exclusively breastfed for ≥3 mo and those who had solid foods introduced at ≥4 mo consumed a lower proportion of daily energy intake from ultraprocessed foods. Conclusion This study supports the need to promote healthy early feeding practices including the support of breastfeeding to promote healthier eating habits later in childhood.

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Bielemann, R. M., Santos, L. P., Costa, C. dos S., Matijasevich, A., & Santos, I. S. (2018). Early feeding practices and consumption of ultraprocessed foods at 6 y of age: Findings from the 2004 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort Study. Nutrition, 47, 27–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2017.09.012

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