Maternal sociodemographic factors and their association with ultra-processed foods consumption among children

Flávia dos Santos Barbosa Brito, Flavia Lima, Amanda Rodrigues Amorim Adegboye, Ariane Romeiro, Oliveira Alessandra, Maria Helena Hasselmann, Valeria Cardim Silva Claudia

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To investigate the association between maternal sociodemographic factors and high consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) among children.

Subjects and methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted with 154 mothers of children aged 2–5 years who attended a primary health care unit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Data were collected using a questionnaire about children's consumption of UPF on the previous day and maternal sociodemographic factors. Children's UPF consumption score was derived from the sum of the all positive responses (yes) to a list of 11 UPF groups. Based on the UPF consumption score distribution, children were classified as having a ‘higher consumption’, when UPF consumption score was above the 75th percentile (> 5 food groups). Associations between maternal sociodemographic factors and high UPF consumption were estimated using crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR).

High consumption of UPF in their children's diet was reported by 46.8% of mothers. The most commonly consumed foods were sweet or savoury biscuits (83.2%), margarine (61.3%), and yoghurt (59.4%). The adjusted model identified that children of younger mothers (PR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.12–1.50) with few years of education (PR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.11–1.42), who received social benefits (PR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.05–1.32), and with a normal-weight BMI (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) (PR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.02–1.26) were more likely to have a high consumption of UPF.

The findings show that high consumption of UPF was prevalent in this population of children. Therefore, there is a need to implement intervention programmes in preschool and primary care to provide more educational information to mothers and promote healthy family eating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:


  • Eating practices
  • Food consumption
  • Ultra-processed foods
  • Sociodemographic factors


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