PRE- AND PERINATAL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH WEIGHT GAIN AMONG PRESCHOOL CHILDREN ENROLLED AT DAY CARE CENTERS

ABSTRACT Objective: To identify the factors associated with excessive weight gain in preschool children enrolled at daycare centers in a capital of the Northeast region of Brazil. Methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted at the five daycare centers located in the city’s district of most socioeconomic vulnerability. The study included 326 preschool children (17 to 63 months old) from both genders. The dependent variable was the conditional weight gain (CWG), that represents how much a child, according to their gender, deviated from their peers in relation to the expected weight gain, given sample’s birthweight, gender, and age at the survey. Univariate tests (t-test and analysis of variance) were used to compare CWG means according to environmental and biological factors, considering the independent variables with p<0.20 as electable for the multiple linear regression model. In the final model, variables with p<0.05 or that contributed to the model adjustment were kept. Results: Children’s mean age was 45.4±9.9 months, and 53.4% of the sample consisted of boys. The prevalence of overweight was 7%. In the multivariable linear regression model, it was possible to identify that the following factors were associated with excessive weight gain among preschool children: less than six prenatal care visits (0.36 SD [95%CI 0.13–0.60]), not rooming-in in the postpartum period (0.30 SD [95%CI 0.03–0.58]), and never breastfed (0.44 SD [95%CI 0.06–0.81]). Conclusions: Inadequate prenatal (appointments) and perinatal care (mother-infant rooming-in and absence of breastfeeding) were associated with excessive weight gain among low-income preschool children.