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ERICA: prevalence of healthy eating habits among Brazilian adolescents

Overview of attention for article published in Revista de Saúde Pública, February 2016
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ERICA: prevalence of healthy eating habits among Brazilian adolescents
Published in
Revista de Saúde Pública, February 2016
DOI 10.1590/s01518-8787.2016050006678
Pubmed ID

Barufaldi, Laura Augusta, Abreu, Gabriela de Azevedo, Oliveira, Juliana Souza, Santos, Debora França dos, Fujimori, Elizabeth, Vasconcelos, Sandra Mary Lima, Vasconcelos, Francisco de Assis Guedes de, Tavares, Bruno Mendes, Santos, Debora França Dos


OBJECTIVE To describe the prevalence of eating habits considered healthy in adolescents according to sex, age, education level of the mother, school type, session of study, and geographic region. METHODS The assessed data come from the Study of Cardiovascular Risks in Adolescents (ERICA), a cross-sectional, national and school-based study. Adolescents of 1,247 schools of 124 Brazilian municipalities were evaluated using a self-administered questionnaire with a section on aspects related to eating behaviors. The following eating behaviors were considered healthy: consuming breakfast, drinking water, and having meals accompanied by parents or legal guardians. All prevalence estimates were presented proportionally, with their respective 95% confidence intervals. The Chi-square test was used to evaluate the differences in healthy eating habits prevalences according to other variables. The module survey of the Stata program version 13.0 was used to analyze complex data. RESULTS We evaluated 74,589 adolescents (72.9% of the eligible students). Of these, 55.2% were female, average age being 14.6 years (SD = 1.6). Among Brazilian adolescents, approximately half of them showed healthy eating habits when consuming breakfast, drinking five or more glasses of water a day, and having meals with parents or legal guardians. All analyzed healthy eating habits showed statistically significant differences by sex, age, type of school, session of study, or geographic region . CONCLUSIONS We suggest that specific actions of intersectoral approach are implemented for the dissemination of the benefits of healthy eating habits. Older female adolescents (15 to 17 years old) who studied in public schools, resided in the Southeast region, and whose mothers had lower education levels, should be the focus of these actions since they present lower frequencies concerning the evaluated healthy habits.

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 148 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 35 24%
Student > Master 27 18%
Student > Postgraduate 11 7%
Researcher 10 7%
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 5%
Other 23 16%
Unknown 34 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Nursing and Health Professions 43 29%
Medicine and Dentistry 28 19%
Sports and Recreations 7 5%
Psychology 6 4%
Social Sciences 5 3%
Other 15 10%
Unknown 44 30%