This article studies the alimentary habits of children in relation to their body mass index (BMI) and food preferences, and to underline the influences of cultural and social aspects. The investigation tested 198 children (90 male and 108 female) from Cento (Ferrara), using food frequency questionnaires that were completed by the children. Subjects were subdivided into three groups based on their BMI - normal weight, overweight and underweight-taking into consideration their food frequency and preferences. The correlations between the BMI of children, mother's geographic origin and cultural level revealed differences between boys and girls. The variability of results does not allow precise correlations to be made between food frequency and children's weight, psychological and social aspects. Some incorrect dietary habits were revealed in the overweight and underweight groups. These could be controlled for and corrected by an alimentary education programme.
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