Background: Arsenic is a naturally occurring contaminant in water. Its chronic exposure has been linked to several health problems, including cancer. Children are most affected by their exposure due to physiological conditions and certain nutrients, known to decrease the toxicity of the metalloid.
Objective: The main objective was to analyze the food intake and nutritional status in children exposure to arsenic in water.
Methods: A transversal study was conducted on cases of a historical cohort comprising forty three children, from two communities, Guanajuato, Mexico. The children were selected from the previous study, where they had 0.01 to 5.9 mg /kg of arsenic in hair (in both communities). The anthropometric variables included weight and height determined through BMI.
Results: The average age was 11 ± 0.8 years old. Twenty-six percent of children were underweight and 19% were overweight and the correlation was negative between the arsenic levels reported in the previous study with the current BMI value (r= -0.5931; IC=- 0.1096-0.8361; p=0.0198). Only 26% had an adequate energy intake (1717±288kcal). The consumption of protein, folic acid, zinc and fiber was low according to RDA. The children used to have mainly soda, fried foods and processed foods. The water source was mainly bottled water in 58.1% of children´s families. The average consumption of milk was 250ml and its source was cow stables in 49%, with a significant difference between the two communities, regarding the origin of milk and water.
Conclusion: The dietary intake was poor in quality and quantity with low intake in vitamins and micronutrients that are important for metabolism and lower toxicity of arsenic. The correlation between BMI and arsenic levels should be studied, since poor diet and poor nutritional status could exacerbate the complications of the metalloid.