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Minerva Pediatrica 2019 December;71(6):481-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.19.05654-8

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Nutritional behavior in Italian and immigrant children

Alessandro COLLO 1, Arianna FERRO 1, Paola BELCI 1, Franco CERUTTI 2, Ivana RABBONE 2, Maria G. IGNACCOLO 2, Giulia CARLETTO 3, Camilla VALLINI 2, Francesco CADARIO 4, Silvia SAVASTIO 4, Deborah CARRERA 4, Gabriella GRUDEN 1, Roberta SILIQUINI 3, Deborah TRAVERSI 3, Marilena DURAZZO 1

1 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Unit of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology, Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital, Turin, Italy; 3 Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 4 Unit of Pediatric Endocrinology, Maggiore della Carità Hospital, Novara, Italy



BACKGROUND: There are 1.2 million of immigrant children living in Italy. However, data on their nutritional habits are limited. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional profile in a cohort of both Italian and immigrant children.
METHODS: The study included 86 children aged 5-15 consecutively enrolled from January 2016 to May 2017 within a larger epidemiological study on determinants of diabetes. Immigrant state was defined on the basis of the parent origin. Data on nutritional profile, frequency of food group consumption, and eating habits were collected using the 24-hour dietary recall method and a questionnaire. Anthropometric parameters were measured.
RESULTS: In the cohort of immigrant children there was a higher prevalence of both overweight (27.3 vs. 14.1%) and obesity (18.2 vs. 3.1%) subjects and a greater total calorie intake compared to Italian children, mainly due to excess simple carbohydrate intake. Immigrant children had a higher consumption of sweets, snacks, and drinks with added sugar. Moreover, unhealthy habits, such as eating alone and eating while watching TV, were more frequent among immigrant children.
CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort, immigrant children had a higher prevalence of overweight/obesity possibly due to less healthy nutritional habits. Culturally-tailored nutritional interventions may help preventing the development of obesity-related diseases in this population.


KEY WORDS: Child; Diet; Feeding behavior; Emigrants and immigrants

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