A population-based cross-sectional survey with cluster sampling design and with inverse sampling was conducted in 2010, in a sample of 1590 adults (19–60 years old) exposed to a high prevalence of food insecurity, in the municipality of Duque de Caxias, metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association of socio-demographic factors, the consumption of fruits and vegetables and the number of meals with increased blood pressure (BP). A hierarchical model that considered variables related to the basic, intermediate and immediate determinants of increased BP was adopted. By using Poisson’s regression, univariate models were tested to obtain the prevalence ratio (PR) and its respective 95 % CI. After fitting the model, age (age group 50–59 years) (PR 1·62; 95 % CI 1·09, 2·41), low consumption of fruits in a week (PR 1·37; 95 % CI 1·07, 1·74), fewer meals per day (PR 1·72; 95 % CI 1·21, 2·43) and overweight (PR 1·78; 95 % CI 1·31, 2·20) remained significantly associated with increased BP. Therefore, the results found here reinforce the importance of encouraging and developing strategies that ensure access to healthy foods to minimise increased BP in similar populations.