A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Eating Behaviors and Home Food Environmental Factors in Adolescents From São Paulo (Brazil) and Saint Paul-Minneapolis (US)

Camilla C P Estima, Meg Bruening, Peter J. Hannan, Marle S. Alvarenga, Greisse V S Leal, Sonia T. Philippi, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Describe cross-cultural differences in nutrition-related factors among adolescents from São Paulo, Brazil and St Paul-Minneapolis, US. Design: Two large-population-based studies with cross-cultural comparisons. Setting: Twelve São Paulo and 10 St Paul-Minneapolis high schools in 2009-2010. Participants: A total of 1,148 adolescents from São Paulo and 1,632 adolescents from St Paul-Minneapolis. Main Outcome Measure(s): Meal consumption, family meals, fast-food consumption, and home food availability. Analysis: Binomial regressions, weighted for age distributions and adjusted for gender, were used to compare identical measures from each sample. Results: Generally, São Paulo adolescents reported healthier nutritional outcomes than St Paul-Minneapolis adolescents. São Paulo adolescents were 7 times less likely to report high fast-food consumption than St Paul-Minneapolis adolescents (P < 001). Whereas most measures of the home environment indicated healthier home environments in São Paulo, more São Paulo adolescents reported that sugar-sweetened beverages were usually available at home than did St Paul-Minneapolis adolescents (P < 001). Conclusions and Implications: São Paulo youth tended to have healthier eating behaviors and home food environment factors than St Paul-Minneapolis youth. Brazilian eating patterns tend to be healthier and support a connection with food and culture. Interventions are needed to encourage youth and their families to maintain these patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Both projects were funded by grants. Project EAT was supported by Award R01HL084064 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from the National Institutes of Health. The São Paulo project was funded through Grant 2009/7224-6 from the FAPESP–São Paulo Research Foundation . The first author's time was supported in part by National Council for Scientific and Technological Development Grant 201588/2010-2 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.


  • Adolescents
  • Brazil
  • Cultural comparison
  • Food pattern
  • Meal
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage


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