We aimed at analysing changes in consumption of selected food groups in the Portuguese population before and after the Great Recession, which hit the country between 2008 and 2013.
We used pooled cross-sectional data from the Portuguese National Health Interview Surveys of 2005/2006 and 2014. We modelled the probability of consumption of soup, fish, meat, potatoes/rice/pasta, bread, legumes, fruit, vegetables and sweets/desserts, as a function of the year, controlling for age, sex and education, using logistic regressions. Then, we stratified the analysis by age group and education level. Analyses were adjusted for survey weights.
Portugal (2005/2006 to 2014).
Adults (n 43273) aged 25–79 years.
From 2005/2006 to 2014, there was a significantly lower consumption of fish, soup, fruit and vegetables. Conversely, the consumption of legumes and sweets/desserts was significantly higher in 2014. The changes in the selected food groups were consistent across most education levels. Among people aged 65 years or above, there were no significant changes in most foods, except an increase in the consumption of legumes and sweets/desserts. In contrast, people aged 25–39 and 40–64 years significantly decreased their intakes of fish and soup and increased their consumption of sweets/desserts.
The consistent results across education levels suggest that changes in dietary habits are not linked to the economic downturn. By contrast, our findings suggest a shift away from foods commonly linked to the Mediterranean diet, particularly among younger people.