Association of Dietary Patterns with Excess Weight and Body Adiposity in Brazilian Children: The Pase-Brasil Study

Abstract Background: Obesity is a multifactorial disease and a serious public health problem. Some of the associated factors are modifiable and, among them, the diet is highlighted. Objective: To evaluate the association of dietary patterns of schoolchildren with obesity and body adiposity. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 378 children aged 8 and 9 years, enrolled in urban schools in the city of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. A semi-structured questionnaire was applied to the children and their caregivers on sociodemographic characteristics and life habits. Three 24-hour food recalls were used to identify dietary patterns; the Principal Component Analysis was employed. Weight and height were measured for the calculation of the body mass index (BMI) of the children and their mothers, waist circumference and neck circumference. Body composition was also evaluated through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). For all performed tests, the level of significance was set at 5%. Results: Five dietary patterns (DP) were identified: “unhealthy”, “snacks”, “traditional”, “industrialized” and “healthy”. There was an association between excess weight (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.38, 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 1.02 to 1.87) and body fat (PR: 1.32, 95%CI : 1.07 to 1.64) with industrialized DP. There was an association between excess body fat (PR: 1.31, 95%CI: 1.01 to 1.74) and lower adherence to traditional DP. The other patterns were not associated with obesity and body adiposity. Conclusion: Children with excess weight and body adiposity showed greater adherence to the industrialized DP and lower adherence to the traditional DP. We suggest that early assessments of dietary habits should be undertaken for monitoring and modifying these habits when necessary.