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Consumer food environment and overweight

de Freitas, Patrícia Pinheiro, de Menezes, Mariana Carvalho, Lopes, Aline Cristine Souza
Nutrition 2019
advertising, cross-sectional studies, food choices, foods, fruit quality, fruits, guidelines, health services, healthy diet, logit analysis, models, overweight, prices, vegetables, weight control
This study investigates the association between aspects of the consumer food environment in food stores selling fruit and vegetables (FV) and overweight among users of a Brazilian primary health care. This cross-sectional study assessed individual-level and food environment variables, within the context of a representative sample of a primary health care service in a Brazilian city (the Health Academy Program - HAP) in 2013. We evaluated users of HAP units and multiple aspects of the consumer food environment (availability, diversity, variety, quality, advertising and price) related to FV and ultra-processed foods (UPFs). Multilevel logistic models were used to examine the relationships among overweight and consumer environment characteristics. We analysed 2,810 participants and audited 336 food stores. More than 70% of stores had adequate diversity and variety of fruit and vegetables. But regarding quality, just 24.5% of stores presented adequate quality of fruits and 39.6% adequate quality of vegetables. UPFs were present in 60.6% of FV stores. The results show a high prevalence of overweight (62.6%) in participants of health promotion service and the multilevel models revealed an association with variety of vegetables in stores (0.99; CI 95% 0.97-0.99; p<0.05). Given the importance of food environment in food choice at the time of purchase, it is indispensable consider consumer food environment in determining of consumption. The results suggest the increased exposure to healthy foods should be included as guidelines for weight management.