Objective: To quantify the antioxidant consumption (vitamins A, C and E and minerals selenium and zinc) and to identify factors associated to low consumption of these nutrients.
Methods: Cross-sectional study with 14,660 participants (35 to 74 years-old) investigated in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) baseline. Consumption of antioxidants and energy was determined by a Food Frequency Questionnaire and analyzed using the NDSR software. Antioxidant consumption was adjusted to total energy and divided in quintiles. A logistic regression analysis was used to identify socioeconomic factors associated with low intake of these nutrients.
Results: Consumption of energy (kcal/day) was higher in men (3,152 ± 1,026 versus 2,613 ± 905; p < 0.001) whereas the consumption of all antioxidants (mainly vitamins A and E and selenium) was higher in females. Low antioxidant consumption was associated to male sex (OR = 3.5; 95%CI 3.11 - 4.0) and to lower education (OR = 3.1; 95%CI 2.42 - 3.87), income (OR = 4.4; 95%CI 3.67 - 5.36) and age (OR = 5.5; 95%CI 4.27 - 7.16), as well as to thinness (OR = 2.7; 95%CI 1.36 - 5.18) and when participants did not reported the use of supplements (OR = 1.95; 95%CI 1.6 - 2.38) or change of eating habits in the last six months (OR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.75 - 2.29).
Conclusion: The greater intake of fruits and vegetables is likely to be involved in the higher consumption of antioxidants in females. General policies to increase the consumption of such nutrients should be directed to groups of lower income, education and age.