(Last updated in: 08/16/2017 - 7:50pm)

Study reveals eating habits of children and teenagers in Brazilian school canteens

The annual report of the Center for Behavioral Research (CBR) of FGV’s Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE) and Nutrebem studied the “Eating habits of children and adolescents in Brazilian private school canteens in 2016”.

Coordinated by EBAPE professors Eduardo Bittencourt Andrade and Rafael Glodszmidt, the study sifted through 1.2 million purchases made in 2016 by more than 19,000 students in cafeterias of 97 schools, located in 25 cities across seven Brazilian states, besides Distrito Federal (SP, RJ, MG, DF, RS, PA, SC, and BA).

The study showed that approximately 65% of the food consumed had low nutritional value, 22% had medium nutritional value, 7% had high nutritional value, and 9% has still not been classified by Nutrebem. Similarly, around 65% of the food offered in cafeterias has low nutritional value, 20% has medium nutritional value, and 8% has high nutritional value. The remaining 7% has still not been classified by Nutrebem.

Brazil’s two biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, showed different results. Students in Rio consume more items with low nutritional value (76.9%), while this food group accounts for 59.3% of students in Sao Paulo. The most consumed products in each nutritional category also vary from state to state. In Rio, industrialized Guaraná beverages are the most popular items with low nutritional value. In Sao Paulo, the most popular items are soft drinks, followed by chocolate milk.

The study also showed that consumption patterns vary slightly based on gender. The ratio of nutritional items (medium and high nutritional value) consumed by boys and girls is similar up until the fifth grade of primary school. From the sixth grade on, girls start consuming more nutritional items compared to boys in the same grades.

Fundação Getulio Vargas and Nutrebem have worked together as partners since 2015, developing join studies to understand the eating habits of children and teenagers in school cafeterias across Brazil. Nutrebem provides and updates the anonymous data regarding purchases made by students and each item’s nutritional value. Through statistical analyses and the study of behavioral sciences, EBAPE’s CBR converts this data into knowledge that has academic, practical and social relevance.

Go to the website to read the complete study, available in Portuguese.