Eating away from home: a risk factor for overweight in children

Abstract

The present study examined the association between childhood overweight, children’s meals and eating out in three types of restaurants (traditional Portuguese food restaurant, fast-food restaurant and snack bar). A representative sample of Portuguese children (5706 boys; 5950 girls aged 6–11 years) was used for this analysis and an ethnographic study with 233 interviews of the owners of snack bars in Coimbra (Portugal). Weight and height were measured (body mass index was consequently calculated). A familial and nutritional questionnaire was filled out by parents. Logistic regressions were used. Findings revealed that eating out at snack bars may be a risk for children’s health because those who eat out at these food establishments have a 21% higher risk of being overweight than those peers who do not eat out at snack bars. In conclusion, findings revealed a statistically significant association between overweight and eating out at snack bars in boys.

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Acknowledgements

This research was partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-007483).

Authors’ contributions

A.M.R. and C.P. participated in the design of the study and in its coordination and helped to draft the manuscript; A.M.R., A.G., I.M., H.N., V.R. and C.P. participated in the nutritional protocols, anthropometric measurements, data management and performed the statistical analysis. All authors revised the manuscript critically (e.g. intellectual content analysis), and approved the final version of the present manuscript.

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Correspondence to Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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