Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods and Socioeconomic Position: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)

Cad Saude Publica. 2018 Mar 5;34(3):e00019717. doi: 10.1590/0102-311X00019717.

Abstract

The objective of the study was to estimate the contribution of ultra-processed foods to total caloric intake and investigate whether it differs according to socioeconomic position. We analyzed baseline data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil 2008-2010; N = 14.378) and data on dietary intake using a food frequency questionnaire, assigning it into three categories: unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients, processed foods, and ultra-processed foods. We measured the associations between socioeconomic position (education, per capita household income, and occupational social class) and the percentage of caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods, using generalized linear regression models adjusted for age and sex. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients contributed to 65.7% of the total caloric intake, followed by ultra-processed foods (22.7%). After adjustments, the percentage of caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods was 20% lower among participants with incomplete elementary school when compared to postgraduates. Compared to individuals from upper income classes, the caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods was 10%, 15% and 20% lower among the ones from the three lowest income, respectively. The caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods was also 7%, 12%, 12%, and 17% lower among participants in the lowest occupational social class compared to those from high social classes. Results suggest that the caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods is higher among individuals from high socioeconomic positions with a dose-response relationship for the associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fast Foods* / classification
  • Female
  • Food Handling* / classification
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritive Value
  • Socioeconomic Factors