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Public Health Nutr. 2009 Nov;12(11):2037-43. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009005710. Epub 2009 May 12.

Eating out of home and obesity: a Brazilian nationwide survey.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier 524, Bloco E, CEP 20550-012, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.



The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between out-of-home (OH) eating and overweight and obesity among adults in Brazil.


Data were based on the 2002-2003 Household Budget Survey (48,470 households) conducted by The Brazilian Census Bureau. Foods and drinks purchased for OH eating during a one-week period were recorded by each participant. We considered OH eating as the purchase of at least one food or drink item for OH consumption during this period. We classified items as: soft drinks, deep-fried snacks, fast foods, sweets and sit-down meals.


Urban areas in Brazil.


56,178 participants (26,225 men and 29,953 women), aged 25-65 years.


The weighted prevalence of OH eating was 40.3 %. Overall, OH eating was positively associated with overweight (OR = 1.21; 95 % CI 1.10, 1.33) and obesity (OR = 1.35; 95 % CI 1.16, 1.57) among men, but not among women. Sit-down meals and soft drinks were the most frequently reported food groups. Both were positively associated with overweight (OR = 1.34 for meals; OR = 1.17 for soft drinks, P < 0.05) and obesity (OR = 1.51 for meals; OR = 1.39 for soft drinks, P < 0.05) among men, but negatively associated with overweight and obesity among women.


OH eating was associated with overweight and obesity only among men, whereas, among women, eating sit-down meals out of home was protective for obesity, suggesting that women make healthier food choices when they eat out of home.

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