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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

On-line version ISSN 2174-5145Print version ISSN 2173-1292


MEZA MIRANDA, Eliana Romina  and  NUNEZ MARTINEZ, Beatriz Elizabeth. Critical nutrients of processed and ultra-processed foods intended for children and their adequacy to the profile of the Pan American Health Organization. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2021, vol.25, n.2, pp.128-142.  Epub Jan 17, 2022. ISSN 2174-5145.


Food modernization has led to a greater availability of industrialized foods for children, rich in sugars, saturated fats and high in sodium. The aim was to determine the adequacy of the nutritional composition of processed and ultra-processed foods intended for children from 2 to 12 years of age according to the PAHO Food Profile regarding critical nutrients as stated in the nutritional labeling.

Material and Methods

Cross-sectional, observational and descriptive study in which 113 products were analyzed: 11 processed and 102 ultra-processed according to the NOVA classification, from two supermarkets in Asuncion - Paraguay.


The sodium / kcal ratio was elevated in 1 category of processed foods and in 4 categories of ultra-processed foods. The amount of sugars was high in processed foods and in 6 of the ultra-processed. Total fat and saturated fat were high in 3 of the ultra-processed foods, with the exception of snacks that only exceeded the maximum allowed for total fat.


Processed and ultra-processed foods for the child population analyzed in this study have at least one critical nutrient that exceeds what is established by PAHO, which is why it is suggested to avoid its consumption by children as much as possible.

Keywords : Fast Foods; Nutritive Value; Food Labeling; Recommended Dietary Allowances; Child; Child, Preschool; Processed food; Ultra-processed food; Critical nutrients.

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