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Food choices in snacking moments and biogenic amines exposure. A preliminary observation on children and toddlers from Abruzzo region
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1  Università degli Studi di Teramo, Department of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment
Academic Editor: Soledad Cerutti


Snacking outside of main meals is common and often a dietary requirement, especially for children and toddlers. This habit has both social and educative dimensions, as it has become an established moment in the daily routine.

We conducted an easy online survey involving students and their families from schools in the Abruzzo region, Italy. The aim of the survey was to understand the participants' habits, food choices, and meal composition during snack time. Additionally, we inquired about their general health state.

Our interest lies in knowing more about this population, with sufficient data to observe if habits and food choices may be accountable for exposure to biogenic amines (BAs).

BAs are unavoidable natural compounds that come from the catabolism of amino acids in tissues. They are possibly involved in reactions such as allergic-like manifestations, abdominal pain, and more severe symptoms depending on individual sensitivity. The action of BAs can be augmented by the intake of foods, mainly fermented products, which are common in the everyday diet.

We collected 300 responses from students ranging from 11 to 18 years old. The most popular foods eaten were sweets (pastries, cakes) and bakery sweet products, followed by yogurt-based and milk-based products (30% and 23% respectively). The majority of students (58%) reported having a snack moment daily. The population was generally in good health, but some reported experiencing light discomforts after snacking, such as transient gastrointestinal pain, headache, and dermatological symptoms (8.7%, 2%, and 0.7% of the total, respectively). All this information may be linked and added to the knowledge about BAs contents in foods and their potential impact on health.

Keywords: Snacking, Meal composition, Food choices, Biogenic amines