Individual and family predictors of ultra-processed food consumption in Spanish children: The SENDO project
Ultra-processed foods
Dietary attitudes
Eating habits
Nutritional knowledge
Screen time
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Cambridge University Press
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence
García-Blanco, L. (Lorena); De-la-O-Pascual, V. (Víctor); Berasaluce, A. (Arantxa); et al. "Individual and family predictors of ultra-processed food consumption in Spanish children: The SENDO project". Public Health Nutrition. 26 (2), 2022, 437 - 445
Brackground: Ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption is increasing exponentially, becoming a matter of concern for Public Health, given its adverse health effects. Objective: To identify individual and family factors predicting UPF consumption in childhood. Design: The SENDO project is an ongoing prospective dynamic cohort of Spanish children. In this study, we used baseline information of participants recruited between January 2015 and June 2021. Dietary information was collected with a validated semi-quantitative FFQ, and food items were classified using the NOVA classification. Individual and family factors associated with UPF consumption (p< 0.20) in univariate analyses were introduced in a model of generalized estimating equations (GEE) which accounted for intra-cluster correlations between siblings. Setting: The SENDO proyect (Spain), 2015-2021. Participants: Spanish children are recruited at the age of 4-5 years and followed yearly through online questionnaires completed by parents. Results: In this sample of 806 participants (49% girls; mean age 5 years [SD: 0.90]), the mean UPF consumption was 37.64 % of total energy intake (sd: 9.59). Large family size and longer exposure to screens predicted higher consumption of UPF. On the other hand, better knowledge of children's dietary recommendations, healthy dietary attitudes towards child's eating habits and longer breastfeeding were associated with lower consumption of UPF. All these factors accounted for approximately 16% of the variability on the consumption of UPF in childhood. Conclusion: Since most of the factors identified in this study are modifiable, they should be considered in public health strategies aimed at promoting heathy dietary habits in early life.

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