Repository logo

Consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity in Brazilian adolescents and adults.

Change log


Louzada, Maria Laura da Costa 
Baraldi, Larissa Galastri 
Steele, Euridice Martinez 
Martins, Ana Paula Bortoletto 
Canella, Daniela Silva 


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity indicators among Brazilian adults and adolescents. METHODS: We used cross-sectional data on 30,243 individuals aged ≥10 years from the 2008-2009 Brazilian Dietary Survey. Food consumption data were collected through 24-h food records. We classified food items according to characteristics of food processing. Ultra-processed foods were defined as formulations made by the food industry mostly from substances extracted from foods or obtained with the further processing of constituents of foods or through chemical synthesis, with little if any whole food. Examples included candies, cookies, sugar-sweetened beverages, and ready-to-eat dishes. Regression models were fitted to evaluate the association of the consumption of ultra-processed foods (% of energy intake) with body-mass-index, excess weight, and obesity status, controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, smoking, and physical activity. RESULTS: Ultra-processed foods represented 30% of the total energy intake. Those in the highest quintile of consumption of ultra-processed foods had significantly higher body-mass-index (0.94 kg/m(2); 95% CI: 0.42,1.47) and higher odds of being obese (OR=1.98; 95% CI: 1.26,3.12) and excess weight (OR=1.26; 95% CI: 0.95,1.69) compared with those in the lowest quintile of consumption. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the role of ultra-processed foods in the obesity epidemic in Brazil.



Food, Nutrition, Obesity, Prevention, Risk factor, Adolescent, Adult, Body Mass Index, Brazil, Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Energy Intake, Fast Foods, Feeding Behavior, Female, Food Handling, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Young Adult

Journal Title

Prev Med

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Elsevier BV
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/5)
M.L.C. Louzada was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (2013/08260-1). J-C. Moubarac was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (2011/08425-5). F. Imamura was supported by Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit Core Support (MC_UU_12015/5).