Here, we describe the percentage of non-citation in Brazilian public health journals, a field that, until now, had not been investigated nationally or internationally. We analyzed articles, published between 2008 and 2012, of eight public health journals indexed in the scopus database. The percentage of non-citation differs between journals (from 5.7% to 58.1%). We identified four statistically distinct groups: História, Ciência, Saúde - Manguinhos (58% uncited articles); Physis: Revista de Saúde Coletiva, Interface, and Saúde e Sociedade (32% to 37%); Ciência & Saúde Coletiva and Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia (16% to 17%); and Cadernos de Saúde Pública and Revista de Saúde Pública (6%). The non-citation in the first three years post-publication also varies according to journal. Four journals have shown a clear decline of non-citation: Cadernos de Saúde Pública, Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, and Physis. Another three (Revista de Saúde Pública, Saúde e Sociedade, and Interface) presented an oscillation in non-citation, but the rates of 2008 and 2012 are similar, with different magnitudes. In turn, the journal História, Ciência, Saúde - Manguinhos maintains high rates of non-citation. Multidisciplinary journals attract more citation, but a comprehensive citation model still needs to be formulated and tested.