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Breastfeeding reduces ultra-processed foods and sweetened beverages consumption among children under two years old

  • Spaniol, Ana Maria1
  • da Costa, Teresa Helena Macedo1
  • Bortolini, Gisele Ane2
  • Gubert, Muriel Bauermann1
  • 1 University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil , Brasilia (Brazil)
  • 2 Ministry of Health, Brasília, Federal District, Brazil , Brasília (Brazil)
Published Article
BMC Public Health
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Mar 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-8405-6
Springer Nature


BackgroundBreastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are associated with healthy eating habits, prevention of nutritional deficiencies, obesity and non-communicable diseases. Our aim was to identify feeding practices and to evaluate the association between breastmilk intake and complementary feeding, focusing on ultra-processed foods (UPF) and sweetened beverages, among children under 2 years old.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional study including 847 children from 20 Primary Health Units. We evaluated children’s food consumption using a food intake markers questionnaire. We conducted a logistic regression to evaluate the effect of breastmilk intake on feeding practices.ResultsThe breastmilk intake was associated with lower odds of consuming non-recommended foods, such as cookies or crackers (OR: 0.29; IC 95%: 0.20–0.41) for children under 6 months, yogurt (OR: 0.33; CI 95%: 0.12–0.88) for children between 6 and 12 months and soft drinks (OR: 0.36; CI 95%: 0.17–0.75) for children between 12 and 24 months. Moreover, the breastmilk intake was associated with lower odds of consuming UPF (OR: 0.26; CI 95%: 0.09–0.74) and sweetened beverages (OR: 0.13; CI 95%: 0.05–0.33) for children under 6 months. For children between 12 and 24 months, breastmilk intake was associated with lower odds of consuming sweetened beverages (OR: 0.40; CI 95%: 0.24–0.65).ConclusionBreastmilk intake was associated with a reduced consumption of UPF and sweetened beverages. Investment in actions to scale up breastfeeding can generate benefits, besides those of breastmilk itself, translating into better feeding habits and preventing health problems in childhood.

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