Many preschool children in Brazil show inadequate intakes of the vitamins D and E and calcium, says a new study.
The observational study calculated the micronutrient intakes of 3058 children aged two to six, who attended daycare centers full time, by combining direct individual weighing of consumed foods and a food diary (1). The study results showed that the prevalence of insufficient vitamin E intake ranged from 15% to 29%. More than 90% of the children had inadequate vitamin D intake. In children older than four, the prevalence of insufficient calcium intake was approximately 45%. On the other hand, the children consumed more sodium and saturated fat than recommended. While inadequate intakes of vitamin A (retinol) were found in less than 1% of the participants, national data obtained in 2006 showed that 18.5% of children had low serum retinol levels (2).
The researchers commented that modifications to diets in schools and at home involving the government, teachers, families and the children are needed. The Brazilian government established the National School Feeding Program for all public schools, coordinated by the ministry of education. This program is one of the most important food policies in the country and reaches nearly 45 million individuals. According to this pro-gram, meals served at kindergartens must meet at least 70% of the energy and nutrient recommendations.