Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Processed food intake is becoming common among children globally and may have harmful effects. We assessed processed food intake in rural Bangladeshi children at 36 mo of age.
Methods : We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled effectiveness trial (the Rang-Din Nutrition Study) in which women and children received different combinations of nutrient supplements (iron and folic acid and lipid based nutrient supplements for pregnant and postpartum women; lipid-based nutrient supplements and micronutrient powder for 6 to 24 months old children). We collected data on processed food intake during the follow-up assessment when the children were 36 months old, including intake of processed food in the past 24 h and past 7 d using a dietary recall questionnaire. We carried out descriptive analysis of the full sample (n=3444).
In the past 24 h, the percentage of children consumed different processed food was: any kind of biscuits (70%), any kind of chocolates or candy (39%), any kind of bread or bun (36%), any kind of Bombay mix (33%), any kind of sweets (28%), chips or crisps (21%), cake or pastry of any kind (21%) and fruit juice or fruit flavored juice (16%). In the past 7 d, the mean (SD) of these foods consumption was: any kind of biscuits 4.3(2.4) d, any kind of chocolates or candy 2.4(2.3) d, any kind of bread or bun 2.4(2.4) d, any kind of Bombay mix 1.7(1.9) d, any kind of sweets 1.6(1.7) d, chips or crisps 1.2(1.6) d, cake or pastry of any kind 1.2(1.8) and fruit juice or fruit flavored juice 0.9(1.6) d. In the past 24 h, the median expenditure for processed food for the index child was 0.18 USD.
Consumption of processed food among 36 mo-old children is very high in this setting. Further research is needed to understand the per capita energy intake from processed foods and the consequences of processed food consumption.
Funding Sources : United States Agency for International Development (USAID)