Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Eating out of home and obesity: a Brazilian nationwide survey

Ilana Nogueira Bezerraa1 c1 and Rosely Sichieria1

a1 Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier 524, 7° andar, Bloco E, CEP 20550-012, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil


Objective 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.

Design 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.

Setting Urban areas in Brazil.

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

Results 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.

Conclusions 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.

(Received November 06 2008)

(Accepted March 26 2009)

(Online publication May 12 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email