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Introduction: Nutrition is a pillar of child health necessary for adequate cognitive and height-weight development. We aim to characterize the eating habits and nutritional status of children up to the third year of life.
Methods: Socio-clinical-nutritional survey and anthropometric measurements of a representative sample of the 6 to 35 months-age children from Primary Health Care follow-up in Cascais municipality.
Results: Two hundred fifty four children were evaluated. At birth, 85.8% of infants were breastfed, with a mean duration higher in mothers with more than 12 years of schooling (8 months versus 11 months, p=0.03). On average, complementary food was started at 5.1 months; cereals with gluten introduced at 7 months, egg at 9.2 months and cow's milk after 12 months in 83% of children. Supplementation with cholecalciferol was provided in 75% of the children. The large majority of children had their nutritional status within the normal range, although almost 7% was considered obese after 12 months old. After the first year of life: average of 5 meals a day with >50% consuming vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and milk. Daily, sugary cereals are consumed by 64.9% of children; desserts/sweets by 43.2% and sugary drinks by 58.7%. This consumption is lower if mothers have >12 years of schooling (p= 0.004).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the need to reinforce the extension of breastfeeding, optimize the age of introduction of cow's milk and promote supplementation with cholecalciferol. After the first year of life, we should reinforce the reduction of consumption of sugary foods.
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