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Shifting Obesity Trends in Brazil


Monteiro, Carlos Augusto; Benicio, Maria Helena D'Aquino; Conde, Wolney L.; & Popkin, Barry M. (2000). Shifting Obesity Trends in Brazil. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54(4), 342-346.


Objective: To describe secular trends in obesity in various settings and socio-economic groups of the adult population of Brazil.
Methods: Trend analysis of the prevalence of obesity in adults aged over 20 y (body mass index >/=30.0 kg/m2) applied to anthropometric and socio-economic data collected by three comparable household surveys undertaken in the two most populated Brazilian regions in 1975 (n=95,062), 1989 (n=15,585) and 1997 (n=10,680).
Results: While previous trends (1975-1989) showed increasing obesity prevalence for all population groups except for men in rural areas, recent trends (1989-1997) have pointed to a much more complex picture where increases in obesity tend to be more intense in men than in women, in rural than in urban settings and in poorer than in richer families. Particularly notable was the fact that, in the recent period, obesity was actually reduced for women belonging to the upper income groups, especially in urban settings.
Conclusion: Earlier obesity trends in Brazil entirely agree with what has been described for both developed and developing countries where reliable secular trend information exists, but the 1989-1997 trend of a substantial reduction in the prevalence of obesity among upper income urban women (12.8-9.2%, or a 28% reduction), is unique in a developing country and, indeed, up to now has only been detected in Scandinavian populations. It is speculated that this declining obesity trend may be a result of an intense mass media work focused on combating a sedentary life style and promoting better food habits.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Monteiro, Carlos Augusto
Benicio, Maria Helena D'Aquino
Conde, Wolney L.
Popkin, Barry M.