Objective: To examine socioeconomic inequality in dietary
habits and obesity in Portugal, looking at their evolution from 2005/06 to
Methods: Cross-sectional data collected by Statistics Portugal
– National Health Survey. Samples used in this study include 18–64-year olds (n=23,049 in 2005/06 and n=10,312 in 2014). The analysis focusses
on differences in the prevalence of intake (at main meals) of nine foods across
income groups and over time. Multiple logistic regression analysis is adopted
to analyse association between socioeconomic factors (income and education) and
obesity, controlling for behavioural and demographic characteristics.
Results: Mean prevalence (%) in intake of food in 2005-06/2014
– soup (66/59: P<0.01), beans (22/28: P<0.01), meat (80/80), fish
(48/46), carbohydrates (88/88), cakes (26/40: P<0.01). Intake increases with
income in both periods for salad, fruit, fish and cakes; in 2014, intake
decreases for soft drinks. The ratio between intake in highest income group and
intake in lowest income group for fish, salad, cakes and soft drinks, changed
from 1.24, 1.13, 1.6, 0.9, in 2005/06, to 1.71, 1.37, 1.2, 0.66, in 2014,
respectively. Association between income and obesity is significant only in
highest income group (OR about 0.78 in both periods). Risk of obesity is lower
for secondary and superior education, compared to basic, in both years (OR=0.616
in 2005/06 and OR=0.820 in 2014, for secondary education; OR=0.525 in 2005/06 and
OR=0.608 in 2014, for superior education).
Conclusions: Differences in dietary habits tended to increase in
a decade, favouring the better-off. Socioeconomic inequality in obesity is
clearer for education than income and persisted over time.
Socioeconomic inequality, Food intake, Obesity, Multiple logistic analysis, Portugal