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To explore how individuals perceive the availability of ultra-processed foods in their neighbourhoods and the barriers to and facilitators of consumption of such foods.
A qualitative design was chosen. In-depth, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted and a content analysis was performed.
São Paulo, Brazil.
A purposeful sample of adults (n 48), stratified by sex and age group (20–39 years and 40–59 years).
All participants perceived their neighbourhoods as favourable regarding the availability of ultra-processed foods. Three barriers were identified: health concerns, not appreciating the taste of these foods and not being used to eating them. Five facilitators, however, were identified: appreciating the taste of these foods, their children’s preference, convenience, addiction and cost.
Participants perceived their neighbourhoods as favourable to the consumption of ultra-processed foods and reported more facilitators than barriers to their consumption. Reported barriers point to the need to include measures promoting a healthy food system and traditional eating practices. The facilitators reinforce the idea that these foods are habit-forming and that regulatory measures to offset the exposure to ultra-processed foods are necessary.
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