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Luis Pereira-da-Silva1-3

1 – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Dona Estefânia, CHLC; NOVA Medical School, UNL; 3 – Dietetics and Nutrition, School of Health Sciences and Technology of Lisbon, IPL. E-mail: Este endereço de email está protegido contra piratas. Necessita ativar o JavaScript para o visualizar.

- VI Forum Multidisciplinare di Nutrizione: Pianeta Nutrizione & Integrazione. Milão, 25/06/2015 (Comunicação em Mesa Redonda)
- 19º Congresso Português de Obesidade. Lisboa, 21/11/2015 (Comunicação em Mesa Redonda)

Despite a common Mediterranean dietary pattern, diversity in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production have resulted in different diets among at least 16 countries around the Mediterranean basin. Agricultural policies in European Union in particular have encouraged the production of sugar, fats, oils, and meat at low cost through subsidies and other measures, compared with the limited market supply of  fruit and vegetables. This overview is centered on recent published data on the dietary intake of young children living in European Union Mediterranean countries. Representative results from the multinational European IDEFICS study as well as national studies such as the EPACI and studies from cohort Geração XXI in Portugal, ALSALMA in Spain, EDEN cohort in France, Nutrintake-636 in Italy and GENESIS in Greece, are addressed. In many European Mediterranean countries young children consume a reasonable amount of fruit and vegetables, despite high prevalence overweight/obesity in most cases. This may be related to high energy intake, including extra energy intake from sugared beverages and snacks as well as high than recommended protein intake. Excessive sodium intake is found in many countries, being another concern. Low adherence to Mediterranean diet by preschool children is found in European Mediterranean countries, which in turn is associated to overweight/obesity. Early consumption of energy-dense foods and overweight seem to track over time. Unhealthier diets of young children are associated with lower maternal educational level and unemployment status. Programs attempting to improve adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet by young children should be part of multi-intervention strategy for prevention and treatment of overweight/obesity. Breastfeeding should be encouraged, since longer breastfeeding is related to higher fruit and vegetable intake in future. The impact of the current economic crises in European Union Mediterranean countries on the diet and nutritional status of their young children is a matter of concern and deserves investigation.

Palavras Chave: Dietary intake, European Union, Mediterranean dietary pattern, overweight and obesity, preschool children