1Universidad De Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador, 3Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium, 4Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador, 5Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Cuenca, Ecuador, 6Universidad Internacional del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador.
Introduction: Food regulations such as traffic-light-food label has been omplmented for several years in Ecuador, unfortunately there is no enough evidence about their resuls in the context of the schools system. This study evaluates the Ecuadorian regulation for food kiosks at schools by analysing if buying a snack at school is associated with unhealthy energy-dense food group intake. Methods: A cross-sectional study with a representative sample was conducted from October 2018 until May 2019 in Cuenca-Ecuador. Children between 9 to 12-year-olds attending public and private schools participated in the study. Intake of energy-dense unhealthy food groups, the source of the school snack (brought from home or bought at school), and socioeconomic status were assessed using questionnaires. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was used to identify patterns of unhealthy food group intake. Logistic regression models were applied to identify the association between the school snack source with the intake of energy-dense unhealthy food groups. Results: A total of 1,028 children were recruited (10.4±1.2 years old, 52% female); 63%, 42%, 30% and 22% of the children reported consuming sweets/confiture, savory snacks, fast food, and pastry products, respectively, at least two days per week. Based on MCA analysis, 39% of the children were classified in the “Frequent consumers of energy-dense unhealthy food” groups. Buying the snack at school was associated with a more frequent intake of sweets/confiture (OR=1.56, 95% CI=1.05-2.32) and fast food (OR=2.01, 95% CI=1.15- 3.50) during the week, as well as with being classified in the “frequent consumer of energy-dense unhealthy food” group (OR=1.99, 95% CI=1.40-2.82). Conclusions: Ecuadorian children still consume prohibited unhealthy foods at school. These results reinforce the importance of evaluating, monitoring, and adapting strategies to promote a balanced diet.
Palabras clave: Ecuadorian regulation, food kiosks at schools, snack, unhealthy food, children.