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To describe the consumption of ultra-processed foods according to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics in three birth cohorts.
Data from the 2004, 1993 and 1982 Pelotas Birth Cohorts were used at 11, 22 and 30 years, respectively, collected between 2012 and 2015. Outcome was the relative contribution of ultra-processed foods from the total daily energy intake. Maternal-independent variables were self-reported skin colour, schooling, age and family income (obtained in the perinatal study), and variables of the cohort member, sex, skin colour, schooling and current family income (the last two obtained at the 11-, 22- and 30-year follow-ups of the respective cohorts). We calculated crude and adjusted means of the outcome for the whole cohorts and according to the independent variables.
11-, 22- and 30-year-old individuals.
Daily energetic contribution from ultra-processed foods was higher in the younger cohort (33·7, 29·8 and 25·1 % at 11, 22 and 30 years, respectively). Maternal schooling and family income at birth showed an inverse dose–response relationship at 11 and 22 years, but a positive dose–response at 30 years. Female sex, lower schooling and family income at 22 years and higher schooling at 30 years were associated to a higher contribution from ultra-processed foods in the daily energy intake.
Information from food and nutrition policies needs a higher dissemination, mostly among women and population groups of lower income and schooling, including its promotion in media and health services, aiming for a decreased consumption of ultra-processed foods.
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