Generational differences in dietary pattern among Brazilian adults born between 1934 and 1975: a latent class analysis

Public Health Nutr. 2018 Nov;21(16):2929-2940. doi: 10.1017/S136898001800191X. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


Objective: To identify generational differences in the dietary patterns of Brazilian adults born between 1934 and 1975.

Design: A cross-sectional study from the baseline of the multicentre Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) cohort. Year of birth was categorized into three birth generations: Traditionalists (born between 1934 and 1945); Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964); and Generation X (born between 1965 and 1975). Food consumption was investigated using an FFQ. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify data-driven dietary patterns.

Setting: Brazil.

Subjects: Individuals (n 15 069) aged 35-74 years.

Results: A three-class model was generated from the LCA for each birth generation. Generation X presented higher energy intakes (kJ/kcal) from soft drinks (377·4/90·2) and sweets (1262·3/301·7) and lower energy intakes from fruit (1502·5/359·1) and vegetables (311·3/74·4) than Baby Boomers (283·7/67·8, 1047·7/250·4, 1756·0/419·7 and 365·3/87·3, respectively) and Traditionalists (186·2/44·5, 518·8/124·0, 1947·7/465·5 and 404·6/96·7, respectively). For Baby Boomers and Generation X, we found food patterns with similar structures: mixed pattern (22·7 and 29·7 %, respectively), prudent pattern (43·5 and 34·9 %, respectively) and processed pattern (33·8 and 35·4 %, respectively). Among Traditionalists, we could also identify mixed (30·9 %) and prudent (21·8 %) patterns, and a third pattern, named restricted dietary pattern (47·3 %).

Conclusions: The younger generation presented higher frequencies of consuming a pattern characterized by a low nutritional diet, compared with other generations, indicating that they may age with a greater burden of chronic diseases. It is important to develop public health interventions promoting healthy foods, focusing on the youngest generations.

Keywords: Dietary patterns; Generational differences; Latent class analysis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged