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Public Health Nutr. 2013 Nov;16(11):2014-22. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012004387. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Nutritional quality of foods and beverages on child-care centre menus in Mexico.

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1 Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center and Duke Global Health Institute, 2200 W Main Street, DUMC 104006, Durham, NC 27705, USA.



The purpose of the present study was to assess the nutritional quality of foods and beverages listed on menus serving children in government-sponsored child-care centres throughout Mexico.


For this cross-sectional menu assessment, we compared (i) food groups and portion sizes of foods and beverages on the menus with MyPlate recommendations and (ii) macronutrients, sugar and fibre with Daily Reference Intake standards.


Menus reflected foods and beverages served to children attending one of 142 government-sponsored child-care centres throughout Mexico.


There were fifty-four distinct menus for children aged 4–6 months, 7–9 months, 10–12 months, 13–23 months, 24–47 months and 48–72 months.


Menus included a variety of foods meeting minimum MyPlate recommendations for each food category except whole grains for children aged 48–72 months. Menus listed excessive amounts of high-energy beverages, including full-fat milk, fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages for children of all ages. The mean daily energy content of menu items yielded an average of 2?76 MJ for infants, 4.77 MJ for children aged 13–23 months, 5.36 MJ for children aged 24–47 months and 5.87 MJ for children aged 48–72 months. Foods and beverages on menus provided sufficient grams of carbohydrate and fat, but excessive protein.


Menus provided a variety of foods but excessive energy. Whole grains were limited, and high-energy beverages were prevalent. Both may be appropriate targets for nutrition intervention. Future studies should move beyond menus and assess what children actually consume in child care.

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