Dietary patterns are associated with excess weight and abdominal obesity in a cohort of young Brazilian adults



The objective of the present study was to investigate whether dietary patterns are associated with excess weight and abdominal obesity among young adults (23–25 years).


A cross-sectional study was conducted on 2061 participants of a birth cohort from Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, started in 1978–1979. Twenty-seven subjects with caloric intake outside ±3 standard deviation range were excluded, leaving 2034 individuals. Excess weight was defined as body mass index (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2), abdominal obesity as waist circumference (WC > 80 cm for women; >90 cm for men) and waist/hip ratio (WHR > 0.85 for women; >0.90 for men). Poisson regression with robust variance adjustment was used to estimate the prevalence ratio (PR) adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle variables. Four dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis: healthy, traditional Brazilian, bar and energy dense.


In the adjusted analysis, the bar pattern was associated with a higher prevalence of excess weight (PR 1.46; 95 % CI 1.23–1.73) and abdominal obesity based on WHR (PR 2.19; 95 % CI 1.59–3.01). The energy-dense pattern was associated with a lower prevalence of excess weight (PR 0.73; 95 % CI 0.61–0.88). Men with greater adherence to the traditional Brazilian pattern showed a lower prevalence of excess weight (PR 0.65; 95 % CI 0.51–0.82), but no association was found for women. There was no association between the healthy pattern and excess weight/abdominal obesity.


In this sample, the bar pattern was associated with higher prevalences of excess weight and abdominal obesity, while the energy-dense (for both genders) and traditional Brazilian (only for men) patterns were associated with lower prevalences of excess weight.

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Financial support for the present study was provided by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), by the University of São Paulo and by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) (Grant Number 00/09508-7).

Author contributions

Machado Arruda and Soraia Pinheiro participated in the stages of data analysis and was responsible for writing the manuscript; Silva, Antônio Augusto Moura da participated in the stage of data analysis and critical review of the manuscript; Kac, Gilberto, Vilela, Ana Amélia Freitas, and Goldani, Marcelo contributed to the discussion and critical revision of the manuscript; Bettiol, Heloisa and Barbieri, Marco Antônio were responsible for the original design of the project and participated in the discussion and critical revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Soraia Pinheiro Machado Arruda.

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All authors declare that there was no conflict of interest.

Ethical aspects

The study was conducted according to the directives established in the Declaration of Helsinki, and all procedures involving human being were approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil. All persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

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Machado Arruda, S.P., da Silva, A.A.M., Kac, G. et al. Dietary patterns are associated with excess weight and abdominal obesity in a cohort of young Brazilian adults. Eur J Nutr 55, 2081–2091 (2016) doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1022-y

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  • Dietary patterns
  • Excess weight
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Young adults