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Sazonalidade e Alimentao

Influncia da Sazonalidade nos Hbitos Alimentares

Discente: Ana Isabel Neves Ferreira Andr


Orientador: Sara Simes Pereira Rodrigues
Professora Auxiliar
Faculdade de Cincias da Nutrio da Universidade do Porto

Co-orientador: Bruno Miguel Paz Mendes Oliveira


Professor Auxiliar
Faculdade de Cincias da Nutrio da Universidade do Porto

Porto, Outubro de 2013

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AGRADECIMENTOS

minha orientadora, pela aceitao da orientao da minha dissertao, e principalmente


pela disponibilidade e prontido constantes, sabedoria nas sugestes dadas, e possibilidade
de concretizao de mais uma etapa da minha aprendizagem profissional.
Ao meu co-orientador, pela sua preciosa colaborao no tratamento estatstico e pacincia,
fundamentais para a concretizao deste trabalho.
Manuela Lopes, pela colaborao na redaco e reviso dos textos em lngua inglesa.
A todos os outros que me acompanharam, apoiaram e ajudaram de alguma forma.
E aos meus pais, que continuam a ser pais da forma que todos queremos ter.
A todos,
BEM-HAJAM!

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NDICE

LISTA DE FIGURAS

vii

LISTA DE TABELAS

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LISTA DE ABREVIATURAS

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RESUMO

ABSTRACT

INTRODUO

1. Sazonalidade na produo, na disponibilidade, no consumo e no estado


nutricional

2. Sazonalidade, sustentabilidade ambiental e alimentao saudvel

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3. Outros fatores que influenciam a aquisio e disponibilidade de alimentos

14

CAPTULO 1

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Seasonality and human diet: from production to nutritional status


CAPTULO 2

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Variao sazonal da disponibilidade familiar de alimentos e bebidas


Portugal 2005/2006
CONCLUSES

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REFERNCIAS BIBLIOGRFICAS

111

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LISTA DE FIGURAS

INTRODUO
Figura 1 Esquema conceptual dos determinantes do processo de escolha
de alimentos

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CAPTULO 2
Figura 1 Variao sazonal (em % da mdia anual) na disponibilidade por
grupos de alimentos IDEF 2005/2006, Portugal

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LISTA DE TABELAS

CAPTULO 2
Tabela 1 Correspondncia entre o trimestre de participao e a estao do
ano IDEF 2005/2006, Portugal

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Tabela 2 Critrios para anlise quantitativa do tamanho do efeito segundo


Cohen

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Tabela 3 Disponibilidade de alimentos por estao do ano IDEF


2005/2006, Portugal

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Tabela 4 Efeito das variveis sociodemogrficas na variao sazonal da


disponibilidade de alimentos

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Tabela 5 Disponibilidade de laticnios por estao do ano IDEF


2005/2006, Portugal

85

Tabela 6 Disponibilidade de gorduras e leos por estao do ano IDEF


2005/2006, Portugal

85

Tabela 7 Disponibilidade de bebidas alcolicas por estao do ano IDEF


2005/2006, Portugal

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LISTA DE ABREVIATURAS

CAPTULO 1
BMI Body Mass Index
CVD Cardiovascular Disease
DDS Dietary Diversity Score
DHA Docosahexaenoic Acid
EPA Eicosapentaenoic Acid
FFQ Food Frequency Questionnaire
LDL Low Density Lipoprotein
MeSH Medical Subject Heading
MUFA Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
NHS National Household Survey
PUFA Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
UK United Kingdom
USA United States of America

CAPTULO 2
ANOVA Anlise da Varincia
COICOP Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose
DAFNE Data Food Networking
GLM General Linear Model

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IDEF Inqurito s Despesas das Famlias


INE Instituto Nacional de Estatstica
MANOVA Anlise da Varincia Multivariada
NUTS II Nomenclatura das Unidades Territoriais para Fins Estatsticos nvel II
UNIANOVA Anlise da Varincia Univariada

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RESUMO

Introduo:
As estaes do ano correspondem a perodos de diviso do ano, caracterizadas por
condies climatricas capazes de condicionar a produo agrcola e disponibilidade de
alimentos para venda, apenas atenuadas pelo desenvolvimento tecnolgico actual e
estratgias adotadas pelos retalhistas de venda ao pblico de alimentos. Contudo, tambm
reconhecido que outros fatores contribuem para diferenas no consumo de alimentos ao
longo do ano, sendo os hbitos culturais um dos mais referidos, especialmente quando
associados a determinadas festividades.
Embora podendo ter diferente impacto na populao, famlias e/ou indivduos, entre pases
ricos e mais desenvolvidos e pases pobres e menos desenvolvidos, so esperadas
variaes no consumo de alimentos ao longo do ano, que podem refletir-se com maior ou
menor gravidade no estado nutricional.
O conhecimento das implicaes da sazonalidade na disponibilidade e consumo de
alimentos e estado nutricional dos indivduos e da comunidade fundamental quando se
pretende promover a sade individual e comunitria atravs da implementao de polticas
de sade ecolgicas, que contemplem as diferenas encontradas nos hbitos alimentares
dos indivduos e comunidades ao longo do ano.
Objetivos:
Este trabalho surge com a finalidade de investigar a influncia da sazonalidade na
alimentao, nomeadamente:
1 efetuar uma reviso sistemtica dos artigos que avaliam a variao sazonal no consumo
de alimentos e/ou ingesto energtica e nutricional e consequncias dessas variaes no
estado nutricional;
2 avaliar a variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar de alimentos em Portugal.
Mtodos:
Para responder aos objetivos propostos recorreu-se pesquisa bibliogrfica pelas palavraschave season*, food supply, food access, food availability e food consumption na
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PubMed, ISI-Web of Sciense, Scopus e Agricola, completada pela estratgia de pesquisa


em bola de neve, e pesquisa em sites oficiais. A pesquisa decorreu at outubro de 2013 e
inclui estudos relevantes para o tema em investigao publicados em lngua inglesa e
portuguesa nos ltimos 30 anos.
Para investigar a variao sazonal da disponibilidade de alimentos e bebidas foram
avaliados os dados de 10403 famlias no IDEF 2005/2006 distribudas de forma
representativa pelas 4 estaes do ano, recolhidos durante 2 semanas onde constou o
registo de todos os alimentos e bebidas adquiridos pelas famlias no perodo. Os alimentos e
bebidas foram agrupados e uniformizados de acordo com a metodologia DAFNE, resultando
uma diviso com 14 grupos principais.
Algumas variveis sociodemogrficas contempladas no IDEF foram tambm consideradas
na anlise, como a regio do pas, grau de urbanizao do local da residncia, sexo, nvel
de escolaridade completado e ocupao do responsvel pelo agregado, n de crianas, n
de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com
alimentao e despesas totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e
despesas com alimentao.
Recorreu-se ANOVA para avaliar a variao sazonal nos grupos de alimentos, MANOVA
para avaliar os efeitos simultneos dos fatores sociodemogrficos na variao sazonal dos
grupos de alimentos e UNIANOVA para avaliar os efeitos simultneos dos fatores
sociodemogrficos na variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar em cada um dos
subgrupos de alimentos. A anlise considerou testes bilaterais e nvel de significncia de
0,05.
Resultados:
Artigo 1
No foram encontrados muitos artigos sobre o tema em investigao, mas os estudos
encontrados permitem verificar diferenas sazonais no consumo de alimentos ao longo do
ano, quer em quantidade, quer em qualidade, que se reflectem em variao sazonal na
ingesto de energia e de nutrientes, e em particular de micronutrientes. Estas variaes
reflectem-se habitualmente no estado nutricional, em funo da maior ou menor gravidade
destas.
Estas variaes ocorrem tanto em pases ricos e mais desenvolvidos, como em pases
pobres e menos desenvolvidos, apesar de serem nestes ltimos que se encontrem maiores
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diferenas ao longo do ano e repercusses habitualmente mais marcadas, e so


influenciadas por vrias caractersticas sociodemogrficas da populao em estudo.
Artigo 2
Encontraram-se importantes diferenas na disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias na
maioria dos grupos de alimentos considerados; somente os lacticnios, gorduras e leos, e
bebidas alcolicas no apresentaram variao sazonal, mas foi possvel verificar que na
avaliao da sazonalidade dos subgrupos dos grupos referidos, j existiam diferenas
sazonais em muitos deles.
O outuno foi a estao do ano onde se verificou maior disponibilidade para a maioria dos
grupos de alimentos, enquanto a primavera foi a estao do ano onde a maioria dos grupos
de alimentos apresentou a menor disponibilidade.
Em muitos dos grupos e subgrupos de alimentos encontrou-se uma variao entre os meses
mais quentes da primavera-vero e mais frios do outono-inverno: leguminosas, batatas,
cereais e produtos cerealferos, ovos, manteiga, margarina de culinria e vinho
apresentaram maior disponibilidade no outono-inverno, enquanto frutas, bebidas no
alcolicas, hortcolas e produtos lteos (que no o leite e queijo) e cerveja apresentaram
maior disponibilidade na primavera-vero.
A magnitude do efeito global da estao do ano nas diferenas encontradas pequena
(2=0.024), assim como a magnitude do efeito da estao do ano na variao sazonal em
cada grupo e subgrupo de alimentos, exceto no grupo dos frutos secos e oleaginosos que
evidenciou uma magnitude de efeito mediana (2=0.036).
As variveis sociodemogrficas foram responsveis por variao sazonal nos grupos de
alimentos com magnitude de efeito varivel, e as interaces das variveis com a estao
do ano foram responsveis por variaes sazonais, exceto a regio do pas, embora com
efeitos pequenos, que diminuiram a magnitude do efeito isolado.
Concluses:
No h muitos estudos publicados sobre o tema em investigao, mas pode-se concluir que
h sazonalidade nos hbitos alimentares e que estes so influenciados por caractersticas
sociodemogrficas da populao, mesmo em pases desenvolvidos, podendo-se repercutir
no estado nutricional.

Na ausncia de inquritos de consumo individual representativos da populao portuguesa,


verificou-se que tambm h sazonalidade na disponibilidade familiar de alimentos na anlise
dos dados obtidos no inqurito s despesas das famlias, e que esta influenciada por
variveis sociodemogrficas, embora o efeito das estaes do ano na variao seja de
forma geral pequeno.
Apesar de ainda haver muito a investigar, espera-se ter contribudo para melhor conhecer a
realidade portuguesa e possibilitar o delineamento de recomendaes mais adequadas a
grupos especficos da populao.

ABSTRACT

Introduction:
The seasons correspond to periods of division of the year, characterized by climatic
conditions that are capable of constraining agricultural production and availability of food for
sale, only mitigated by technological progress and strategies adopted by retailers. However,
it is also recognized that other factors contribute to differences in food consumption over the
year, being cultural habits frequently referred, especially when associated with certain
festivities.
Although with possible different impact on the population, families and/ or individuals
between poor and less developed countries and rich and more developed countries, there
were expected variations in food consumption throughout the year, which could be reflected
to a greater or lesser severity in nutritional status.
The knowledge of the implications of seasonality in the availability and consumption of food
and in the nutritional status of individuals and communities is essential when promoting
individual and community health, through the implementation of ecological health policies
which address the differences in eating habits throughout the year.
Aims:
This paper appears in order to investigate the influence of seasonality in food habits,
namelly:
1 to systematically review papers that evaluate the seasonal variation in food consumption
and/ or energy and nutrients intake and consequences of these changes in nutritional status;
2 to evaluate the seasonal variation in the household food availability in Portugal .
Methods:
To address the proposed objectives, literature search by keywords "season, "food supply",
"food access", "food availability" and "food consumption" in PubMed, ISI-Web of Sciense,
Scopus and Agricola databases was used, completed by "snowball" research strategy, and
search in official websites.

The research took place until October 2013 and includes studies relevant to the topic
published in English and Portuguese for the past 30 years.
To investigate the seasonal variation in food and beverages availability were evaluated data
from 10,403 families in IDEF 2005/2006 distributed in a representative manner for 4
seasons, collected during two weeks, consisting of the record of all food and beverages
purchased by households in the period. Food and beverages were grouped and
standardized according to the DAFNE methodology, resulting in 14 major groups.
Some sociodemographic variables included in IDEF were considered in the analysis, such as
countrys region, degree of urbanization of the place of residence, gender, completed level of
education and occupation of the head of household, number of children, number of adults
and number of elderly in the household, income per capita, ratio between food expenditures
and total expenditure and ratio between expenditure on food away from home and food
expenses.
ANOVA was used to evaluate the seasonal variation in the food groups, MANOVA was used
to evaluate the simultaneous effects of sociodemographic factors on the seasonal variation
of food groups and UNIANOVA was used to evaluate the simultaneous effects of
sociodemographic factors on the seasonal variation on the seasonal variation in the
subgroup of food. The analysis included two-tailed tests and a significance level of 0.05.
Results:
Paper 1
Only a few papers were found on the topic under investigation, but these studies allowed
checking seasonal variation in food consumption throughout the year, either in quantity or in
quality, which was reflected in seasonal variation in energy and nutrient intakes, and in
particularly, in micronutrient intake. These variations were also reflected with greater or
lesser gravity in the nutritional status.
These variations occur in both rich and more developed countries, as in poor and less
developed countries, although these latter had major differences throughout the year with
usually worse effects, and these variations were dependent of socio-demographic
characteristics of the population.
Paper 2
There were found important differences in household food availability in most food groups
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considered; only dairy products, fats and oils, and alcoholic beverages didnt show seasonal
variation, but it was possible to verify that the evaluation of the seasonality of the subgroups
of these groups, seasonal differences existed for many.
Autumn was the season where there was greater availability for most food groups, while
spring was the season where most food groups had the lowest availability.
In many of the food groups and subgroups was found a variation between the spring-summer
months and autumn-winter months: pulses, potatoes, cereals and cereal products, eggs,
butter, cooking margarine and wine showed greater availability in autumn-winter, while fruits,
vegetables, non-alcoholic beverages, dairy products (other than milk and cheese) and beer
had higher availability in spring-summer.
The magnitude of the overall effect of season on the founded differences was small
(2=0.024), as also the magnitude of the effect of season in each food group ans subgroup,
except for nuts that showed a medium effect size (2=0.036).
The sociodemographic variables were responsible for seasonal variation in the food groups
with variable magnitude effect, and interactions of variables with the season were
responsible for seasonal variations, except the countrys region, despite the small effects,
which decreased the magnitude of the isolated effect.
Conclusions:
There are few published studies on the topic under investigation, but it can be concluded that
there is seasonality in eating habits and that these are influenced by socio-demographic
characteristics of the population, even in developed countries, which are able to affect the
nutritional status.
In the absence of representative individual consumption surveys of the Portuguese
population, it was also found seasonality in the household food and beverages availability in
the analysis of data obtained in the inqurito s despesas das famlias, and that this is
influenced by sociodemographic variables, although the effect of the seasons in the variation
is generally small.
While there is still much to investigate, it is expected to have contributed to better know the
Portuguese reality and enable the design of more appropriate recommendations to specific
groups of the population.

INTRODUO

As estaes do ano correspondem a perodos de diviso do ano, geralmente feitas a


partir de fenmenos astronmicos e meteorolgicos que ocorrem com regularidade, cujas
causas principais so o movimento de translao da Terra em volta do Sol e a inclinao do
plano da sua rbita em relao ao plano equatorial, denominando-se esta sucesso de
perodos de ciclo sazonal. (1)
O ciclo sazonal tem consequncias em diversos fatores mesolgicos como a
luminosidade, temperatura e humidade, apresentando diferentes expresses nas regies
no equatoriais, onde a durao do dia e da noite e as condies climatricas diferem ao
longo do ano e influenciam a regulao da biologia temporal da vida na Terra, dominando a
vida da maioria das espcies, (1) incluindo a humana. (2)
Apesar da influncia do ritmo circadiano na fisiologia e comportamento humano se
encontrar relativamente bem documentada, a influncia do ciclo anual das estaes do ano
menos bvia, mas encontram-se alteraes sazonais nos padres de nascimento, morte,
suicdio e doena, mesmo nos pases mais ricos e desenvolvidos, onde as diferenas so
mais atenuadas em relao aos pases mais pobres. (2)
As alteraes na temperatura e durao da luminosidade do dia que se verificam na
sucesso das diferentes estaes do ano, condicionam a disponibilidade de alimentos que
domina a vida da maior parte das espcies no equatoriais, incluindo o Homem, conferindo
um carter sazonal sua alimentao. (2)

1. Sazonalidade na produo, na disponibilidade, no consumo e no estado


nutricional
As condies climatricas associadas s diferentes estaes do ano so
responsveis por diferentes produes agrcolas em cada estao, com maior notoriedade
nas espcies de origem vegetal (como os hortcolas, frutas e ervas aromticas) e
cogumelos, mas tambm influenciando o ciclo reprodutivo de animais e os alimentos deles
obtidos (como ovos, leite e carne de animais juvenis). (3-6)
S recentemente, com a agroindustrializao verificada nestes pases, se conseguiu
ultrapassar com algum sucesso as limitaes impostas pelas estaes do ano na produo
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e disponibilidade de alimentos para consumo, recorrendo ao comrcio em larga escala de


alimentos produzidos no hemisfrio oposto produo em contracorrente, a estufas
(normalmente para antecipar o incio da poca de colheita) e ao armazenamento em
condies de temperatura e humidade controladas (para prolongar a vida til e a iluso de
frescura), ou ainda produo seletiva de subespcies ou espcies geneticamente
modificadas. (5-7)
Seja qual for a modalidade para disponibilizar alimentos fora da poca, verifica-se
quase sempre um acrscimo no preo de venda ao pblico devido aos maiores custos de
produo e/ou comercializao, existindo diferenas marcadas entre as estaes do ano, no
que diz respeito ao preo, critrios de qualidade, ou mesmo disponibilidade para
comercializao, (8-11) o que, obviamente, pode afetar a sua aquisio pelos consumidores.
O distanciamento entre a produo e a comercializao de alimentos facilita o
consumo intemporal da maior parte dos alimentos, criando incongruncias entre a produo
que na generalidade mantm marcada produo sazonal e as expectativas das
sociedades urbanas em dispor dos alimentos frescos ao longo de todo o ano, que na
generalidade desconhecem as implicaes que isso possa ter na segurana e
disponibilidade alimentar (7,11) e na sustentabilidade ambiental. (11,12)
Mas apesar dos avanos, a comercializao de alimentos continua a ser fortemente
condicionada pela sua produo, reconhecendo-se que a sazonalidade na produo e
consequente sazonalidade na comercializao de alimentos um dos fatores que influencia
a alimentao ao longo do ano. (10,13-15)
Contudo, h outros determinantes da escolha e consumo de alimentos que
influenciam o comportamento alimentar ao longo do ano conferindo-lhe por vezes um
carter sazonal independente da produo e comercializao, como o caso dos hbitos
culturais. (10,14-22) Por exemplo, verifica-se maior aquisio e consumo de frutos secos e
frutos secos oleaginosos no inverno, principalmente na poca natalcia e festejos de ano
novo, apesar de estarem disponveis durante todo o ano, podendo-se considerar estes
alimentos de consumo sazonal, por outro lado, alimentos como tomate, cenoura, cebola ou
alhos, tm evidente produo sazonal mas so adquiridos e consumidos durante todo o ano,
no sendo por isso considerados alimentos de consumo sazonal, pelo menos pela maioria
dos consumidores. (10,17,23)
A influncia da cultura na escolha e consumo de alimentos est pois bem
documentada ao nvel individual e, embora no se encontrem referncias disponibilidade
sazonal de alimentos nas superfcies comerciais em funo dos hbitos culturais
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massificados associados a determinadas pocas e festividades do ano, facilmente


constatado tal facto.

2. Sazonalidade, sustentabilidade ambiental e alimentao saudvel


Embora os consumidores das grandes reas urbanas possam ter perdido a noo do
que cultivado e colhido em cada poca e estao do ano, (7,11,24) no h dvida de que
a sazonalidade dos alimentos mais notria quando h maior proximidade entre os
consumidores e os produtores. (11,13,23)
Nesta assuno, os alimentos produzidos localmente no sentido de localizao
mais prxima ou de produo nacional, revelariam a maior sazonalidade da produo
agrcola prpria de cada espcie junto dos consumidores, proporcionando naturalmente
flutuaes ao longo do ano na aquisio e consumo de alimentos. (11,23,25)
Embora no estejam definidos claramente os conceitos de alimentos sazonais e
alimentos locais, nem seja consensual a sua utilizao entre profissionais e consumidores,
(23,26) sendo estes dois conceitos frequentemente conotados como sinnimos. (23,26,27)
Vrios estudos mostram que os consumidores consideram os alimentos produzidos
localmente como mais saborosos, mais frescos, mais seguros toxicologicamente e
mais baratos, (11,25,28) caractersticas frequentemente atribudas tambm aos alimentos
adquiridos e consumidos na poca de colheita. (23,24,26,27)
Alheio a esta fuso de conceitos, tem vindo a crescer a valorizao do consumo de
produtos da poca, quer pelos profissionais de sade, (9,29) quer pelos grandes chefs de
cozinha, (7,30) uma vez que proporcionam maior variedade na alimentao do dia-a-dia, a
par das vantagens para os consumidores que lhes so imputadas.
Na realidade, no so muitos os estudos que demonstrem as vantagens do consumo
de alimentos de produo sazonal em funo da sua produo e disponibilidade para venda,
mas parece ser consensual, quer no meio acadmico quer na comunidade, que os
alimentos produzidos e colhidos na poca so mais vantajosos do que os alimentos
produzidos e colhidos fora da poca, sendo geralmente referidos os seguintes argumentos:
- Preo mais baixo
Os produtos produzidos na poca apresentam-se em maior quantidade para venda
nos diversos mercados, o que baixa necessariamente o seu preo de venda, tornando os
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produtos da poca mais econmicos face aos produzidos fora da poca, (3,24) que alm da
eventual menor oferta, tm custos acrescidos devido implementao de tcnicas agrcolas
mais sofisticadas e/ou comrcio intercontinental. (3,31)
- Melhores caractersticas organolticas (frescura, sabor, etc.)
Seja qual for a modalidade para comercializar alimentos fora da poca, estes so
habitualmente colhidos num estado precoce de maturao com a finalidade de aumentar o
perodo de comercializao, mesmo que isso se reflita negativamente nas caractersticas
organolticas como a cor, textura e sabor (7); por outro lado, os alimentos na poca
tendem a ser colhidos no momento em que atingiram o seu potencial de crescimento e
maturao, conferindo-lhes um sabor mais acentuado e as caractersticas espectveis pelo
consumidor. (31)
- Valor nutricional otimizado
Praticamente todos os estudos encontrados evidenciaram maior contedo de
vitaminas, minerais e outros constituintes essenciais e benficos, nos alimentos da poca:
num estudo efetuado no Japo verificou-se que o contedo de vitamina C de espinafres
estava reduzido em 1/5 a 1/8 quando eram produzidos fora de poca, e o de tomates e
brcolos estava reduzido at ; o contedo de carotenos tambm era reduzido em em
brcolos e em mais de metade em cenouras produzidas fora da poca (24); no mesmo
estudo, o contedo de vitamina C e carotenos era relativamente estvel em qualquer poca
de produo em alguns frutos e produtos hortcolas, como kiwi, pimento e aipo. (24) Por
outro lado, alimentos importados de locais distantes tm de viajar e ser armazenados
durante mais tempo, o que aumenta as perdas de nutrientes, principalmente de vitaminas.
(31)
As escolhas alimentares so influenciadas por numerosos fatores e, a par dos
fatores j bem aceites, cresce a importncia de outros fatores no redireccionamento dos
hbitos alimentares, como as preocupaes ecolgicas e sociais que os hbitos alimentares
possam ter na cadeia produtiva e de comercializao dos alimentos. (12,32,33)
importante que ao assegurar-se o suprimento adequado e seguro de alimentos no
futuro, se incorporem as consideraes ecolgicas na promoo de hbitos alimentares
mais saudveis, pois impossvel separar a maioria das recomendaes alimentares e
nutricionais dos recursos naturais que suportam o sistema alimentar actual. (12,27,32-34)

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Por outro lado, a promoo de uma maior proximidade dos produtores aos
consumidores, atravs da comercializao dos alimentos em feiras, mercados e praas
municipais, um exemplo de sucesso em parcerias pblico-privadas no setor de produo
agrcola e comercializao verificado em muitos pases em que esta prtica tem vindo a
aumentar, como nos Estados Unidos da Amrica (35,36) e em pases europeus como o
Reino Unido (25) e a Sucia, (11) beneficiando os produtores, que vm aumentados os
rendimentos provenientes das colheitas (por escoamento total e/ou menos perdas e
ausncia de intermedirios comerciais), e os consumidores (produto fresco - colhido no dia
ou vspera, de maior valor nutricional e organoltico, e ao melhor preo), e ao mesmo
tempo, com menores presses de produo, respeitando o calendrio agrcola tpico das
espcies e utilizao de tcnicas agrcolas menos agressivas para o ambiente. (12,27,35)
Pouco se sabe das atitudes dos consumidores face aos alimentos disponveis nas
superfcies comerciais com base sazonal, mas num estudo efetuado h j alguns anos nos
Estados Unidos, Wilkins verificou que os membros filiados numa cooperativa alimentar
mostravam uma forte preferncia por alimentos produzidos na poca e na proximidade, em
relao aos no membros / comunidade em geral, evidenciando tambm menos dvidas em
relao

adequao

nutricional,

mas

ambos

os

grupos

evidenciaram

maior

comprometimento em comprar estes alimentos, como forma de preservar os recursos


naturais. (12)
Aparentemente cresce a procura por alimentos orgnicos (36-38) e por alimentos
produzidos localmente (36,37) - que evidenciam maior sazonalidade na sua disponibilidade,
por parte dos consumidores urbanos com maior nvel educacional e poder econmico, (36)
aparentemente devido s maiores preocupaes de sade e ambientais deste grupo
populacional, (36,38) pelo que de aproveitar estas crenas e desejos nas polticas de
desenvolvimento econmico local.
Por outro lado, apostar nos mercados locais potenciar as oportunidades de
aprendizagem informais sobre alimentao, que ao mesmo tempo concorrem para a
promoo da alimentao saudvel:
- os consumidores ficam mais atentos sazonalidade prpria dos alimentos que adquirem,
sendo este conhecimento um pr-requisito para a adoo de uma dieta com adaptao
sazonal (dieta sazonal), que favorvel do ponto de vista ecolgico, uma vez que est
associada a menores custos de produo e transporte (11,12,27,39);

13

- a diversidade dos produtos disponveis nos mercados contribui para a melhoria dos
conhecimentos dos consumidores e assegura a diversidade de produo ao nvel das
exploraes agrcolas (11,12,27,39);
- encoraja os consumidores a consumirem mais frutas e produtos hortcolas, (11,39)
podendo mesmo reduzir ou redirecionar o consumo de carne e produtos crneos, o que
tambm diminui a utilizao de recursos naturais (11,33);
- a troca de informaes entre produtores e consumidores contribui para que no se percam
os conhecimentos e tcnicas necessrias preparao e confeo de alimentos em casa,
com as vantagens econmicas e ecolgicas associadas, uma vez que h menor desperdcio
e perdas alimentares e melhoria do valor nutricional das refeies. (11,39)
As recomendaes alimentares e nutricionais no s devem promover a sade, mas
ao mesmo tempo devem assegurar a conservao e regenerao dos recursos naturais,
(34,40) sendo a preferncia pelo consumo dos alimentos na poca de produo e
produzidos mais prximos do local de comercializao uma das estratgias a considerar.
(12,26,27,32,39) possvel que atravs do conhecimento e educao alimentar, os
consumidores prefiram alimentos com base na origem de produo e sazonalidade
intrnseca, mas no se pode esquecer que o comportamento na compra destes alimentos
depende da disponibilidade dos produtos nas superfcies comerciais a preos competitivos e
de qualidade aceitvel. (7,12,37,39)

3. Outros fatores que influenciam a disponibilidade e aquisio de alimentos


O consumo de alimentos resulta das escolhas efectuadas pelos consumidores no
ambiente que os rodeia, onde para alm da sazonalidade, outros fatores individuais, como
as preferncias, experincias e conhecimentos de nutrio, interagem com o ambiente
nutricional na comunidade, (8,18,21,41-50) merecendo este ltimo especial reconhecimento
nos ltimos anos.
Glanz e colaboradores definem ambiente nutricional na comunidade como o
nmero, tipologia, localizao geogrfica e acessibilidade s superfcies comerciais que
vendem alimentos. (8)
Nos pases desenvolvidos so numerosos os estudos efetuados nos ltimos anos
que averiguam a influncia do acesso aos locais de venda de alimentos na aquisio de
alimentos, sob diferentes perspetivas, como a proximidade e tipologia, preo dos alimentos
14

e caractersticas intrnsecas da superfcie comercial, sendo que a disponibilidade (8,51-58) e


o preo dos alimentos (8,52-54) so diferentes nas diversas tipologias comerciais, que por
sua vez, tm diferente implantao em zonas mais ou menos densamente povoadas ou de
diferente grau de urbanizao (54-60) e em zonas com populao de maior ou menor poder
econmico ou outras caractersticas socioculturais, (8,51-53,58,60-65) podendo a sua
presena ou ausncia afetar diretamente o consumo de alimentos, por alterar o preo, a
variedade e disponibilidade destes para venda. (8,42,51,61-63)
Contudo, alguns estudos mostraram resultados contrrios ou inconclusivos para
algumas das variveis referidas. (53,59,65-67)
Numa outra perspetiva, vrios so tambm os estudos que averiguam a proximidade
e tipologia das superfcies comerciais onde as famlias se abastecem de alimentos com o
consumo de alimentos, (44,68-74) adequao da dieta, (75) ingesto de energia e
nutrientes, (44,69,70) ou ainda com o estado nutricional e de sade dos residentes.
(44,49,76) Tais estudos procuram relacionar a quantidade e variedade de alimentos
disponibilizados para venda, (53,56,71,72) a sua qualidade, (53,77) o espao que lhes
reservado nas prateleiras, (53, 71) ou mesmo o preo dos alimentos, (53,56,78) com a
aquisio e consumo de alimentos.
Independentemente da perspetiva de investigao, o pressuposto o de que o
ambiente influencia a aquisio de alimentos (figura 1).
Custos de deslocao
Custo dos alimentos

Acesso aos alimentos


nas superfcies comerciais

Posse de carro
Localizao

Aquisio de
alimentos

Preo de venda
Promoes
Caractersticas:
- variedade
- espao na prateleira
- localizao

Preferncias
Aceitao social
Rendimento
Idade
Raa/ etnia
Escolaridade

Figura 1: Esquema conceptual dos determinantes do processo de escolha de alimentos


Adaptado de: Rose D, Bodor JN, Hutchinson PL, Swalm CM. The Importance of a Multi-Dimensional Approach for Studying
the Links between Food Access and Consumption. J Nutr. 2010;140(6):1170-4. (49)

15

Os alimentos promotores de uma alimentao saudvel (como lacticnios menos


gordos, carnes magras, peixe, frutas e produtos hortcolas) so dos mais estudados na
influncia do ambiente nutricional na comunidade. A sua disponibilidade nas superfcies
comerciais tanto maior, quanto maior for a dimenso destas, (42,54,79) mas verificam-se
diferenas em bairros onde predominam as minorias tnicas, onde a disponibilidade em
locais de venda de idntica dimenso menor. (53,62) Por outro lado, tambm se verifica
grande variabilidade regional na disponibilidade destes alimentos, independentemente da
dimenso das superfcies comerciais. (79)
Em zonas de maior poder econmico, o acesso a alimentos promotores de uma
alimentao saudvel tanto maior quanto o acesso dos consumidores ao supermercado,
(42,62,71) enquanto nas zonas de menor poder econmico, onde predominam as pequenas
superfcies comerciais independentes, o acesso a estes alimentos inferior e est
condicionado pela facilidade de transporte. (42,61,65)
Considerando em particular o grupo das frutas e produtos hortcolas frescos, h
alguns resultados inconsistentes entre a tipologia e acessibilidade s superfcies comerciais
na disponibilidade destes alimentos, mas verificam-se importantes tendncias quer na
tipologia quer no acesso, por exemplo, a variedade destes alimentos maior nas superfcies
comerciais de maior dimenso (55,58) e o consumo de produtos hortcolas e fruta
aumentava com a presena de um supermercado na proximidade, (68,80) especialmente na
populao de raa negra, (68) e espao disponvel para venda. (81)
Num outro estudo efetuado numa comunidade de idosos com baixos recursos
econmicos, contemplando a venda ambulante de frutas e produtos hortcolas, verificou-se
aumento do consumo de produtos hortcolas quando estes eram disponibilizados a preos
mais acessveis e prximo da residncia. (82) Ainda noutro estudo verificou-se que a
proximidade da residncia a pequenas superfcies comerciais est associada ao maior
consumo de produtos hortcolas e, em menor extenso, a maior consumo de fruta, e que o
consumo de produtos hortcolas maior, quando o espao dedicado venda nesses locais
tambm maior, no se verificando diferenas entre poder econmico e outras
caractersticas socioculturais das famlias. (71)
Independentemente da tipologia da superfcie comercial e do poder econmico da
zona residencial em pases desenvolvidos, os estudos que relacionam a opo ou
substituio por alimentos mais saudveis, so consistentes com o aumento do custo
associado, devido ao maior preo destes alimentos, (42,53,54,83,84) verificando-se a
mesma tendncia nos pases em desenvolvimento, quer em zonas urbanas, quer em zonas
16

rurais, (56,57) tornando-se incomportvel em famlias com rendimentos inferiores, onde a


proporo no oramento familiar dedicado alimentao j elevado. (42,56,57,84-86)
O preo um dos principais determinantes na aquisio destes alimentos, sendo
superado apenas pelo sabor, (18,41) e nem mesmo o conhecimento do valor nutricional dos
alimentos parece to determinante para a sua aquisio. (18)
Os consumidores, especialmente os mais desfavorecidos, tendem a escolher
alimentos com base no sabor e no preo, protelando o valor nutricional dos mesmos,
(18,41,84,86,87) traduzindo-se num aumento do consumo de alimentos densamente
calricos, mas de baixo valor nutricional, como gorduras, acar, cereais refinados e
derivados crneos, em detrimento de frutas, produtos hortcolas e derivados cerealferos
menos refinados, (84,86,87) cuja aquisio nos mercados pelos consumidores s aumenta
quando h reduo nos preos. (88-90)
Por outro lado, o preo dos alimentos tende a no diferir significativamente em
superfcies comerciais da mesma tipologia, (8) especialmente se esto prximos uns dos
outros, independentemente de diferentes caractersticas sociodemogrficas e culturais da
populao (raa, poder econmico e escolaridade), (53,63,65) mas as superfcies
comerciais de maior dimenso tendem a vender os alimentos mais saudveis a preos mais
favorveis. (53,54)
A localizao regional das superfcies comerciais (rural vs urbana) tem maior
influncia nos preos, disponibilidade e variedade de alimentos, uma vez que nas regies
mais rurais predominam as superfcies comerciais independentes e pequenas cadeias de
supermercados, onde os preos so mais elevados e h menor variedade e disponibilidade
de alimentos (54,56,57) verificando-se o mesmo quando se consideram zonas onde
predomina a raa negra e emigrantes. (8,51,62,64)
A disponibilidade, preo e qualidade dos alimentos frescos habitualmente diferente
ao longo do ano, porm, na mesma estao do ano a disponibilidade, a qualidade e o preo
dos alimentos frescos tende a ser constante dentro da mesma tipologia comercial, apesar
das diferenas que possam existir entre diferentes tipologias comerciais, (91) o que pode
favorecer a aquisio de alimentos da poca, uma vez que estes atributos se encontram
mais favorecidos.
Tambm os alimentos obtidos por produo prpria, ou os que so comprados aos
agricultores nas quintas, stands de rua, feiras ou praas municipais, aumentam a
disponibilidade de alimentos para consumo familiar, principalmente de alimentos da poca
17

como diversas frutas e hortcolas. (36,45,60,92,93) No entanto, o contributo destas


modalidades de obteno de alimentos pequena e mais vulgar nos meios mais rurais, (94)
pelo que os alimentos disponveis para consumo, quer em casa, quer fora de casa, so
habitualmente condicionados pelas cadeias da grande distribuio e estratgias de venda a
retalho adotadas pelas cadeias de supermercados presentes na comunidade. (7,49)
Em resumo, fatores ambientais, como a sazonalidade, o acesso e a disponibilidade
nas superfcies comerciais, a qualidade e o preo dos produtos, influenciam a aquisio de
alimentos por si s, modificando a atratividade por parte dos consumidores, sendo o preo
dos alimentos um dos principais determinantes das escolhas alimentares, interagindo quer a
nvel individual e familiar, atravs do poder de compra, quer a nvel ambiental, atravs do
preo de venda aos consumidores. (49,84,88)

Perante o exposto, para que as recomendaes alimentares e nutricionais emanadas


pelas entidades oficiais sejam adequadas a toda a populao e assegurem o consumo
suficiente de alimentos no tempo e no espao, devem considerar a existncia de diferenas
no comportamento alimentar ao longo do ano e as diferenas que estas apresentam nos
vrios grupos da populao.
Na avaliao do consumo de alimentos pelos indivduos fundamental distinguir trs
conceitos hierrquicos e interdependentes que definem a segurana alimentar: na base
est o suprimento nacional de alimentos disponveis para consumo humano (food supply),
ao qual se segue a facilidade das famlias em aceder aos alimentos disponveis (food
access), e no topo encontra-se a utilizao dos alimentos propriamente dita (food
utilization), condicionada pela disponibilidade familiar e utilizao individual dos alimentos
para consumo, podendo-se verificar alteraes sazonais em qualquer um dos nveis. (95-97)
Os estudos individuais de consumo de alimentos, estado nutricional e/ou de sade
permitem, sempre que referida ou controlada a estao do ano, averiguar diferenas
sazonais no comportamento alimentar mas, em muitos pases, entre os quais Portugal, no
se promovem com regularidade estudos epidemiolgicos representativos da populao que
pretendam avaliar o consumo de alimentos e/ou ingesto de energia e nutrientes, devido
elevada necessidade de recursos econmicos e morosidade envolvida.
Torna-se necessrio recorrer a outros instrumentos que permitam detetar provveis
alteraes sazonais no consumo de alimentos, elucidando para a possibilidade destes
comportamentos continuados se traduzirem em alteraes no estado nutricional e de sade.
18

A investigao da sazonalidade no suprimento nacional de alimentos impossvel de


avaliar, uma vez que a diviso temporal no faz parte da metodologia utilizada na
elaborao das Balanas Alimentares. (98,99)
A meio caminho entre os dados globais das Balanas Alimentares e os estudos de
consumo individual, os Inquritos s Despesas das Famlias permitem avaliar a
disponibilidade de alimentos ao longo do ano, por inclurem um espao temporal de
investigao distribudo de forma representativa. Sendo considerados uma importante fonte
de informao alimentar e nutricional (100,101) eles so, no caso de Portugal, o melhor
instrumento disponvel para avaliar a nvel nacional a influncia da sazonalidade na
alimentao.
S depois de conhecer a variao sazonal no comportamento alimentar possvel
fundamentar e promover recomendaes alimentares especficas numa poltica nutricional e
de sade e, por tal motivo, com maior possibilidade de serem implementadas e duradouras
por serem identificadas como necessidades suas pelos destinatrios, mas ao mesmo tempo,
sem comprometer os recursos econmicos das famlias e os recursos naturais de todos.
(102)
Este trabalho surge ento com a finalidade de investigar a influncia da sazonalidade
na alimentao, tendo como objectivos principais:
- efetuar uma reviso sistemtica dos artigos que avaliam a sazonalidade na alimentao
(na disponibilidade e consumo de alimentos, e na ingesto de energia e nutrientes) e
consequncias dessas variaes no estado nutricional;
- e avaliar a variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar de alimentos em Portugal com
recurso ao Inqurito s Despesas das Famlias, mais especificamente, descrever a variao
sazonal, identificando os grupos de alimentos onde esta mais relevante, e avaliar o efeito
das variveis sociodemogrficas na disponibilidade de alimentos e sua interaco com as
variaes sazonais.

Das pesquisas preliminares efectuadas para esta investigao estabeleceram-se as


seguintes hipteses:
- a disponibilidade de alimentos para consumo pode sofrer variao sazonal motivada pelas
caractersticas de produo e facilidade de armazenamento dos alimentos, tradio de
consumo em determinadas pocas do ano e diversos fatores ambientais;
19

- as diferenas encontradas na variao sazonal de alimentos esto relacionadas, pelo


menos em parte, com caractersticas sociodemogrficas da populao;
- a sazonalidade na alimentao tem repercusso no estado nutricional;

A pesquisa e investigao efectuadas com vista concretizao dos objectivos


resultaram na elaborao de dois artigos, apresentados separadamente nos captulos 1 e 2
deste trabalho:
- no captulo 1 apresentado o artigo de reviso sobre o impacto da sazonalidade nos
hbitos alimentares, destacando-se as diferenas e as semelhanas entre pases mais ricos
e desenvolvidos e pases mais pobres e pouco desenvolvidos no que respeita influncia
da sazonalidade na aquisio e disponibilidade de alimentos para consumo, variao
sazonal no consumo de alimentos e ingesto de energia e nutrientes, e ainda no impacto
que estas variaes sazonais podem ter no estado nutricional;
- no captulo 2 apresentado o artigo de investigao sobre a influncia da sazonalidade na
disponibilidade familiar de alimentos e bebidas em Portugal que, sendo este o primeiro
trabalho com essa finalidade, tem carcter predominantemente descritivo e ser um ponto
de partida para futuras investigaes.

20

CAPTULO 1
Seasonality and human diet: from production to nutritional status

21

22

ABSTRACT

Background: The influence of seasonality begins in the food production, since the vast
majority of plant species and many species of animals used for human consumption are
subject to an "agricultural calendar" imposed by the succession of the seasons, modifying
the availability for sale, acquisition or, ultimately, food consumption and its consequences on
nutritional status.
Aims: The aim of the present study is to identify the relevant literature that collect
information on the seasonality of diet (in food availability, food consumption and energy and
nutrient intakes), and its impact on nutritional status.
Methods: A systematic literature review, using the search terms season, food supply,
food access, food availability and food consumption was performed in the PubMed, ISIWEB of Science, Scopus and Agricola databases, subsequently completed with snowball
strategy. Papers published in English or Portuguese in the last 30 years until October 2013
were conditions.
Results: The searching criteria result in 33 papers to review, with the oldest paper published
in 1985. The results showed that most of the fresh food produced, sold and purchased by
households in any country is still subject to seasonal changes. Although scarce, there are
studies that showed a clear seasonal influence on purchase of foods such as fruits and
vegetables, even in urban areas and less developed countries. Much more studies have
showed marked seasonality in food consumption, which may be different depending on the
social group, economic status and culture, and this is higher in less developed countries,
where most families depend on the production of food for home consumption. Seasonal
variation in energy and nutrients intake was lower when compared to the consumption of
food, and the variation in macronutrients intake tends to be smaller than the variation in
micronutrients intake. These seasonal changes, if significant, tend to be reflected with
greater or lesser severity in the nutritional status, leading to health consequences, according
to the country or group studied.
Conclusions: Research found there are differences on the influence of seasonality in the
regions of a country and between countries, being poor and less developed countries more
affected, resulting in worse health consequences. Future research should focus on how
seasons influence household food habits. As there are few studies on this area, it is also

23

needed to implement research with focus in the relation between seasonal consumption and
nutritional status.

Keywords: season, food supply, food access, food availability, food consumption, review,

24

INTRODUCTION
The influence of circadian rhythms in physiology and human behavior is now well
accepted, with numerous studies documenting that, whereas the influence of the annual
cycle of the seasons is less obvious and less well explored by researchers. However, there
are evidence of seasonal changes in the patterns of birth, death, suicide and disease, even
in the most developed and richest countries. (1)
One of the most obvious seasonal influences for humanity is the change in eating
habits throughout the year, which since antiquity were conditioned by the availability of food
provided by the rhythm of the seasons and associated weather changes, allowing the
consumption of fresh food only in harvest times. (2) Using the traditional methods of food
preservation, preserved food was consumed when fresh food was not available or in the
presence of reduced availability of other foods. (2)
Increasing industrialization and technological development in agriculture and the
appearance of more sophisticated food preservation techniques contributed to apparent
timeless marketing of most fresh foods in the developed countries, and the use of food by
consumers is more dependent on the cost and convenience than on the seasons and
weather conditions per se. (2)
Despite such advances, the marketing of food continues to be strongly influenced by
its production, recognizing that the seasonality is one of the factors that influence food supply
and availability throughout the year, (3-8) but one should not forget that there are other
determinants of food consumption that influence eating behavior, giving it a seasonal
character independent of production and marketing, being cultural habits identified as one of
the main responsible for these differences. (6-15)
Changes in food availability throughout the year are responsible for changes in food
consumption, which in turn are associated with changes in the energy and nutrient intakes
that, if achieving physiologically significant differences, may be sufficient cause to trigger the
onset of a nutritional deficiency or excess, and induce metabolic disorders with unintended
effects on nutritional and health status. (8,9,13,16,17)
It is therefore important to investigate the seasonal food behavior and to determine
the effect of this seasonality on nutritional status of individuals and the community. In
epidemiological studies that are intended to assess the adequacy of food consumption or
energy and nutrient intakes made by individuals and compare them with the dietary
reference intakes and recommendations, it is necessary to know the differences that may
25

exist throughout the year, to control this important variation factor and the confounding in the
conclusions, (4,5,7,18-20) as well as to redefine dietary and nutritional recommendations.
(4,9)
On the other hand, it is also important to determine the magnitude of differences in
food consumption found throughout the year and its relationship to disease risk, (6,7,9,13,16)
because it is thought that some of the inconsistencies in results of different studies are due to
seasonal variation in data collection, which is then reflected in food consumption and nutrient
intake and consequent change in plasma levels of the nutrients in research. (9)
The knowledge of the implications of seasonality in food consumption and nutritional
status of individuals and the community is essential when seeking to promote individual and
community health through the implementation of comprehensive health policies that also
focus differences found in eating habits of individuals and communities throughout the year.
(4,9)
Being seasonality identified as one of the determinants of dietary habits which may
result in changes in nutritional and health status of individuals and communities during the
year, and not knowing a review of published literature related to this topic, this paper aims to
fulfill this lack. Thus, its objective is to identify the relevant literature that collect information
on the seasonality of diet (in food availability, food consumption and energy and nutrient
intakes), and its impact on nutritional status.

METHODS
In preparing this review paper the following search strategy was applied: the use of
the keywords (Medical Subject Headings MeSH) season combined with food supply,
and combined with the keywords food access, food availability and food consumption in
the PubMed, ISI-WEB of Science, Scopus and Agricola. Subsequently the same keywords
were used in natural language in the mentioned databases in order not to miss potentially
relevant papers.
Whenever possible, imposed conditions were applied: the studies had been
performed in humans and the papers published in English or Portuguese in the last 30 years
until October 2013, not limiting the search to any other conditions.

26

It was also used the snowball search strategy, which included other papers with
interest to this study identified from references of the relevant papers which met the same
criteria and had not been previously included.
Finally, the national and international official websites relevant to the ongoing
research were also used, such as the sites of producers and traders associations, consumer
protection, ministries of agriculture and health, among others.
Several papers were found by these search criteria. After read the titles and the
abstracts some were eliminated, being obtained 38 published papers from studies conducted
in different countries or communities, with the oldest paper published in 1985. However 3
papers were removed because the complete paper had not been obtained, resulting in 35
papers to review, listed and summarized in annex 1.
This literature review included all papers related to the subject, besides the country,
social and demographic characteristics of the community, type and sample size, methods
used to collect and process data or even study objectives.
Given the diversity in the origin of the studies which resulted in the publication of
papers, but at the same time the shortage of papers published in order to evaluate the
seasonality in the availability or consumption of food, in the energy and nutrient intakes and
in the nutritional status, it was not possible to standardize criteria for a systematic review.
Therefore, this literature review included all papers related to the subject, besides the
country, social and demographic characteristics of the community, type and sample size,
methods used to collect and process data or even study objectives.

RESULTS
It is important to distinguish between the effects of seasonality in food production and
availability for sale, and the effect of seasonality on the acquisition and availability of food for
human consumption. (20) For example, in western society there is more purchasing and
consumption of dried fruits and nuts in winter, especially in Christmas and New Year
celebrations, despite being available in the markets during the whole year, and so they can
be considered seasonal foods; on the other hand, there are foods, like potatoes, tomatoes,
garlic or cauliflower, which despite strong seasonal production, are purchased and
consumed throughout the year, not being considered seasonal foods by most of the
consumers. (8,10,21)
27

I)

Seasonality in the availability and acquisition of food for consumption

There are few studies that seek to evaluate the seasonal purchase and availability of
food by families. The published papers referring the seasonal purchase or availability of food
rarely had the aim to evaluate these differences throughout the year, but when considering
the seasons in the control variables they frequently found seasonal differences.
One of the few studies conducted in developed countries where it was evaluated the
seasonality on household food availability was performed in the US; this study aimed to
assess the household availability of foods purchased by non-commercial routes or alternative
routes to traditional marketing. (5) This was the only study that included the marketing of
seasonal fruit and vegetable production by street vendors, direct sales by farmers and fairs,
but there was no major change in the availability of food for purchase by consumers, even in
winter, because of the small contribution of this way of marketing foods, even in more rural
communities. (5)
In another study - a pilot study performed in New Zealand, from the analysis of
electronically sales data from supermarket and other places where participants effectuated
purchases, seasonal changes were found in the purchase of fruit and vegetables, being
higher in the summer and lower during the winter. (22)
Also in Benin it was found that fruits, vegetables and staple foods were purchased by
the households with the same seasonal variation that were available on the market, (23) and
another study conducted in South Africa also found that fruits and vegetables rich in carotene were available for family consumption (particularly by children) with the same
variation that they were available after the crops and in the markets. (24)
In Mozambique, in a study aiming to assess seasonality in household food availability
using the National Household Survey (NHS), it was found that in rural areas the availability
of maize and other cereals was higher in the months of January to August, coinciding with
the harvest and post-harvest periods, and the availability of cassava and other roots and
tubers was exactly the opposite, being more available in the months of September to
December; in urban areas, where there is a greater importance and availability of bread and
other wheat-based products, the seasonal availability of maize and other cereals, cassava
and other roots and tubers was the opposite to the rural areas. (25)
In the same study, other food groups revealed seasonal availability, which was
different in rural areas where only the availability of fish and sea animals was not different

28

throughout the year, and in urban areas where were the vegetables that did not shown a
seasonal availability. (25)
In urban and industrialized societies of the richest countries there are minor
fluctuations in the availability and in market food price, since they are less dependent of the
national production or home production for self-consumption, that is, there is greater stability
in supply and prices in the food marketing by traditional ways when compared with the
poorest and less developed countries, more subject to inflation and volatility of food prices,
(26,27) which could change the pattern of choices and food purchasing by households in
these countries.
Therefore, it will be expected that in poor and less developed countries, seasonal
availability of food is also reflected in great differences in food consumption throughout the
year, but even in developed countries it is possible to find out seasonal changes in food
consumption in close relation with the pattern of acquisition and availability of food. (5,9)
The relationship between availability / acquisition and consumption may differ
between urban and rural communities, and within the latter, between farmers and non-farm
workers, as was shown in a study conducted in a rural community in the US, in which it was
evaluated the influence of seasonal availability in the consumption of fruit and vegetables one of the most studied food groups that has shown greater seasonality in consumption
associated with its production and availability in the market for sale and purchase by families.
(5) It was also showed that there was greater availability in the market and consumption of
fruits and vegetables during the harvest, and this variation was higher among farmers. (5)
Similar trends were seen in vegetable consumption in a community gardening project with
Hispanic farmworker families in US. (28)
Though the main place for purchasing fruits and vegetables throughout the year were
the small markets in the community, during the harvest season increased the proportion of
other local places (such as street fairs and stands), the attainment of home production for
self-consumption and yet for farmers and rural workers, the workplace. (5)
Although the purchased and available foods for the family may be consumed by any
one of its members it is known that certain food preferences are different depending on the
age and sex of the family members. For example, in a study performed in Austria it was
verified that women consumed more fruit than men, and the fruit consumption increased with
increasing age, but differences were not significant between seasons and geographic
location. Similar results were obtained regarding the consumption of vegetables, except in

29

relation to the seasons, where there was lower consumption in winter compared to summer.
(29)
It seems that home food availability increases the consumption by family members,
as demonstrated in the same study, where the availability of fruit and vegetables was
associated with higher consumption of these, especially for men. (29)
Despite a study where it was not found a clear relation between home availability and
consumption of fruit and vegetables, (30) the relationship between household food
availability and increased consumption has also been well documented in a study review,
(31) and it is possible that something similar occur with the other foods, as has been shown
in studies comparing family food availability and individual food consumption. (32-34)

II)

Seasonality in food consumption and nutrient intake

To estimate food consumption or energy and nutrients intake, the analyzed studies
used food frequency questionnaires, (8-10,13,16,18-20, 35) food diaries, (7,23,36-44) 24hours dietary recalls,

(4,17,45-48) or even combinations of two collecting methods,

(24,29,49) designed to include different seasons during the period of data collection,
including or not the same individuals in evaluating the different seasons.
A) Rich and developed countries
As mentioned previously, and with the exception of just a reference, (5) studies in
developed countries that directly evaluate the contribution of non-marketed food in
household food availability, such as those obtained in home production for self-consumption
or food offerings, were not found. In this way, the household food availability and
consumption reflect essentially the food purchasing by commercial routes.
Although the limited number of studies related to the seasonal food consumption,
seasonal differences in the consumption of foods such as vegetables and/or fruits were
reported: Schtzer and colleagues found that the frequency of vegetables consumption in
Austria was significantly lower in winter, although the frequency of fruit consumption was
stable throughout the year, attributing the observation to the fact that the availability and
variability of fresh vegetables in markets is higher in spring and summer, while the availability
and variability of fruit was similar over the year. (29)

30

Also in the UK, Cox and colleagues found that the consumption of salads was less
frequent in the winter than in summer, but the fresh fruit consumption was more often
referred as being consumed in an identical manner during the year. (9)
Locke and colleagues found a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables during the
agricultural harvest calendar in rural agricultural community in the US, which was particularly
high in the fall. (5)
In an earlier study conducted in Japan, only in women some differences were found
in the frequency of consumption of fruits and pickled vegetables (higher in winter), and
consumption of fresh vegetables and green tea (higher in winter and spring). (35)
Although a seasonal consumption was often attributed to vegetables and fruit,
expected from equally seasonal agricultural production and availability in markets, it was also
found seasonal differences in other foods consumption, as observed in the study conducted
by Joachim in Canada, where the consumption of hot cereal and roasted chicken were
higher in winter than summer, and the consumption of eggs, cantaloupe and fresh spinach
were higher in summer than winter; on the other hand, the ice-cream consumption did not
show differences, while the consumption of potatoes, rice and chocolate showed small
differences between the two seasons. (20)
In a slightly larger number of studies, seasonal variations in food consumption and
consequent variation in energy and nutrient intake were found.
In a study conducted in pregnant Finnish women, Prasad and colleagues found large
seasonal fluctuations in consumption of vegetables, fruits and berries and cereals, and even
in specific foods such as rice, pasta, sauces, processed meat products, ice-cream, tea,
juices and soft drinks (8): the global consumption of vegetables was higher in summer and
lower in winter, but differences were noticed in subgroups of vegetables; the consumption of
fruit and berries was lower in the summer, but the isolated consumption of berries was higher
in summer and autumn, as a high consumption of imported citrus in winter was noticed; tea
consumption was higher in autumn and winter, while the consumption of juices and soft
drinks, sauces and specially ice-cream, was higher in summer. (8)
In the same study, as a result of obvious seasonal differences in food consumption,
there were significant seasonal fluctuations in nutrient intake: a higher proportion of energy
proceeding from total fat, particularly monounsaturated fatty acids, in the summer, while the
lower consumption of dietary fiber happened in this season (8); seasonal consumption of
food has also translated into fluctuations in vitamins and minerals intakes: vitamin E intake
31

was higher in summer, while folate intake was higher in winter and lower in summer, and
vitamin D intake was lower in autumn; iron intake was also significantly different in the spring,
summer and autumn, while the differences in vitamin A and vitamin C were not significant.
(8)
Capita and Alonso-Calleja also found large variations during the year in the
consumption of fruits, vegetables and dairy products by Spanish young adults of both sexes
(36): foods like oranges, bananas, green beans and dried fruits were consumed more in
winter, while foods like melons, tomatoes, lettuce and ice-creams were consumed more in
summer. In this study, men eat more food in winter, and considering food groups individually,
eat more food of almost all groups in winter, just eating more vegetables in summer; in
women there were no significant differences in the total amount of food consumed
throughout the year, although there were some differences in the amount consumed from
different food groups over the year. (36)
These differences in food consumption were reflected in the intake of many of the
investigated micronutrients, lying variations throughout the year that have reached different
magnitudes in both sexes, but while the differences in men were mainly due to the amount of
food consumed, in women the differences were mainly due to variation in nutritional density
of the consumed foods. (36)
In China, Fowke noted that Chinese women consumed more meat (particularly pork),
fish, wax gourd, soybean and vegetables, and less fruit in the winter, but higher consumption
of seafood and certain vegetables in the summer, as well as other changes in food
consumption in the fall and spring, and that the rice consumption was not significantly
affected during the year (19); also the effects on energy and nutrients intake showed to be
different along the year, there was a higher intake of energy, fat and protein by women who
participated in the study in winter, and lower intake of carbohydrates in the same season.
(19)
In another study, Shahar and colleagues found that Israeli men consumed
significantly higher amounts of boiled eggs and meat (especially lunch meat and shishlik), as
well as higher consumption of dairy products in winter; these changes were reflected in a
higher intake of total fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol and some
micronutrients such as sodium, zinc, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin D and vitamin E and,
though not being significant, also a higher energy intake in winter. (13,16)
Subar and colleagues also found differences in the consumption of several foods
throughout the year in the US: the ratio of consumers of chocolate, peanuts, oranges, wine
32

and liquors was higher in winter and, in men, also the consumption of liver and grapes; in
women, the ratio of liver and grapes consumers was higher in spring, as well as the
consumption of ice-creams (this last one was more consumed in spring and summer for
men); in general the ratio of consumers of these foods was lower in autumn and, in spite of
other variations in the ratio of ingested food, the results for other foods were inconsistent in
both sexes. (18) In this study the different food consumption over the year was not
expressed in significant differences in median intake of energy and nutrients. (18)
In the study done by Bingham and colleagues in the UK it was verified a trend for
lower intake of nutrients in spring and summer, but significant differences were only found in
the intake of carbohydrates, starch, calcium and retinol, which were lower in the summer.
(50) These differences had no apparent relation with the significant lower consumption of
soups and sauces also identified in the summer, since other foods did not show significant
differences. (50)
In a study conducted in the US by Ziegler and colleagues, it was found that the serum
carotenoids was straightly related to the recent consumption of rich carotenoids fruit and
vegetables, and the intake of carotenoids in autumn-winter was about 2/3 of the intake in the
spring-summer and the consumption of rich carotenoids fruits and vegetables had the same
proportion in these periods; found even higher seasonal consumption of fruits compared to
vegetables, representing the consumption of fruit in autumn-winter 1/3 of what was
consumed in spring-summer. (10)
On the other hand, in the same study, the list of foods that made up the survey
frequency questionnaire, watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, nectarine and tomato were more
consumed "in season", while the courgette was consumed throughout the year; cabbages,
carrots, peas, broccoli, winter squash, yam-pumpkin and canned peaches were more
consumed in autumn-winter, while the tomato, lettuce and green beans were consumed
more in the spring-summer. (10)
Moreover, a study conducted in Japan by Fahey and colleagues showed a higher
intake of carotenes and vitamin C in autumn and winter, being attributed to a higher
consumption of specific fruit and vegetables with great cultural preference, available at these
seasons. (7)
However, a study by Giles and colleagues in the UK showed a higher vitamin C and
folate intake in summer and lowest in winter, probably due to greater consumption of fruit
and salads in the summer, while there were no significant fluctuations on energy and
macronutrients intake. (37)
33

Equally important seems to be the seasonal variation of the consumption of traditional


foods in nutrient intake, especially in the groups that depend on other food sources which are
not common in the market, as it is often found in indigenous Canadian, where the intake of
micronutrients is higher in the seasons in which these foods were consumed more. (47)
There are still some studies in which seasonal variations were found in energy and/or
nutrients intake, however they dont make reference to the variation in food consumption that
underlies it, as presented below.
In Brazil, in the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre (southern region), Rossato and
colleagues found a higher intake of carbohydrates in the Summer and lower intake of total fat
in the same season in all groups. (4) However the gender modified the effect of the season in
the intake of energy, carbohydrates, total fat and, in less extension, calcium; also the age
modified the effect of the season in the intake of energy, protein, carbohydrates, total fat and
calcium, even though not all were significant. (4)
Yannakoulina and colleagues verified in a sample of Greek children and adolescents
that energy intake in the spring-summer was significantly higher than in the autumn-winter
and that, despite the intake of carbohydrates is significantly higher in the spring-summer, the
relative contribution of macronutrients to the energy intake in the two periods was not
substantial, the same happened for the intake of vitamin C and calcium. (45)
On the other hand, in Japan, differences were found in vitamin C intake, which was
higher in the fall in both sexes, and salt consumption was higher in the spring and summer in
both sexes as well; moreover, the protein intake was higher in women only in spring, but the
variation in energy and other nutrients intake was not significant. (38)
Also in another study conducted with Japanese women, Tokudoeme and colleagues
found significant seasonal differences in vitamin C and carotene intake, being about 20%
higher in autumn compared to summer; whereas the intake of dietary fiber, zinc and copper
were higher in winter and lower in the spring-summer. The intake of energy, protein, total fat
and various fat fractions, and many of the micronutrients analyzed were significantly higher in
autumn and lower in summer. (40)
In the US, Ma and colleagues found differences in the intake of energy and nutrients,
but only the relative contribution of energy proceeding from total fat and saturated fat had
been significantly higher in the fall, when the energy intake was also higher; the relative
contribution of energy proceeding from carbohydrates was higher in the spring but without
being significant, while the energy proceeding from protein was relatively stable along the
34

year. (17) This study also demonstrated that the seasonal effect on energy and nutrients
intake was influenced by gender, age, race/ ethnicity or even by education level. (17)
In pregnant New Zealander women there were significant seasonal differences in
macronutrient intake, including total fat, saturated fatty acids and dietary fiber, and in the
spring higher intakes of these nutrients were found; despite being omitted in relation to the
amount of food consumed and total energy intake by pregnant women in different seasons,
the intake of most of the analyzed nutrients was lower in the summer. (39)
In general, studies about the intake of energy and nutrients in developed countries
have shown inconsistent results regarding seasonal variation: while in some there were no
significant differences in energy intake over the year, (4,8,13,16,37,38,50) in others it was
found a significantly higher intake in winter (17,19,36,40) or, on the contrary, a significantly
higher intake in summer. (18,45,47)
Sometimes the variations in energy intake during the year were different in both
sexes: in a study men showed greater seasonal influence, while it was not significant for
women (17,36) or, as seen in another study, the highest values in the energy intake were
different in both sexes. (4,18) Also the age, (4,17) race/ ethnicity (17) and education level (4,
17) influenced the seasonality in energy intake: in a study the higher energy intake was in
summer for the older (age between 60 and 70 years old), in the fall for the middle-aged
(between 50 and 60 years old) and in winter for young people (between 40 and 50 years
old). The same study also found that the higher energy intake for Caucasians was in winter,
while for individuals of other races and ethnicities was in the fall, and that the variation on
energy intake during the year was higher in individuals with lower educational level. (17)
Regardless of changes in energy intake, the variation in nutrient intake is common,
and while the intake of nutrients tend to be smaller than the variation in the micronutrients
intake, (6,15) there are several studies that show seasonality in the intake of macronutrients
as total fat, (4,8,13,16,17,19,36,39,40) saturated fat, (13,16,17,36,39,40), monounsaturated
fat, (8,36,40) polyunsaturated fat, (13,16,36,40) proteins, (19,36,38,40) carbohydrates
(4,8,17,19,36,45,50) and starch, (39,50) as also alcohol, (36) dietary fiber (8,19,36,39,40)
and cholesterol. (13,16,36) But there are studies where no significant differences in these
macronutrients intake were found. (37)
However, vitamin C (7,8,18,36-40,50) and calcium (4,8,13,16,19,36,37,39,40,45,50)
are further analyzed nutrients and have shown to have greater seasonal variation, but even
so, with differences on the season in which they have higher intakes: while there are studies
in which the intake of vitamin C was higher in summer, (7,37) in other studies was lower in
35

summer. (8,38-40) In some studies, calcium intake was higher in the spring (37,39), but in
others was higher in winter, (19,36) or in the fall. (40,50) Sometimes there were no
differences in vitamin C intake (4,45,50) and calcium intake, (4,8,13,16,45) or there were
differences between genders in the season when the nutrient intake was higher, as in the
case of vitamin C. (18,36)
B) Poor and developing countries
In less developed countries, the influence of seasonality in food consumption is very
large, since most of the population depends on food production for self-consumption, with
several studies showing the importance of these foods in home food availability. (24,41,5153) The contribution of this mode of obtaining food is strongly influenced by weather
conditions associated to the seasons, (25,41,52) which together with the availability of food
in the market and the purchasing power of the family, determine the home food availability
and family food consumption. (24,25,41,42,54,55)
In these countries, the rainy season or the season where there is extreme drought
more families are subject to food insecurity, i.e., with lower food availability, being the
poorest households living in rural areas more vulnerable to these fluctuations,
(23,41,48,52,56,57) but following the same trend in the poorest households in urban areas.
(54,55)
Generally, in poor countries the diet is characterized by monotonous foods, where in
addition to cereal and/ or tuber staple foods, the diet is complemented with very few other
foods (23,58). Even so, food diversity shows marked seasonality, generally being higher
when food availability is also higher, (48,55,56,59) which contributes to the intake of more
micronutrients, (24,55,60) especially in rural families where food production for selfconsumption is higher. (53)
Given the seasonal scarcity of foods often found in less developed countries, families
tend to distribute foods differently within their members, being women and children more
vulnerable to this changes, (44,61-64) although not all studies conducted in less developed
countries were consistent with this observation. (43,44,52,65,66) It is likely that these
inconsistent results are due to cultural and religious habits or beliefs regarding the status in
society, (63,65) but also to the different methods applied in the studies.
Various strategies are used to compensate the decreased household food availability
prior to harvesting and improve food diversity, changing the food behavior, using strategies
to minimize the reduction of food available in the most unfavorable seasons, as decreasing
36

portions, make fewer meals throughout the day (which are replaced by frequent snacks with
low calorie foods to alleviate the feeling of hunger), or use of prophylactic plants and
practices to minimize the superstition associated with the consumption of taboo foods usually
not consumed in periods of greater abundance of food, being these behaviors more
prominent in women and children. (52,57,66) On the other hand, younger children eat more
caloric snacks, which contribute significantly to the energy intake outside the main meals.
(42,65)
The greater or lesser success of these strategies explain, at least in part, the reason
why sometimes they werent significant changes in energy and nutrients intake, regardless of
seasonality in food consumption.
In these societies, social cohesion is usually high and social support has also been
shown important when the household food availability is low. (26,57)
Mitchikpe and colleagues found seasonal variations in food consumption by Benise
rural children related to the agricultural availability of food, but where only fat and vitamin C
intake showed seasonal variation, attributed to higher consumption of shea butter and fruit
and vegetables in the pre-harvest season. (23)
In another study conducted in Kenya, Kigutha and colleagues found that the intake of
calories, protein, fat, iron, niacin and vitamin C showed no significant seasonal variations
between the pre-harvest season and harvest season, being only significant variations in
calcium, vitamin A, thiamine and riboflavin intake, attributing to the higher vegetables and
beans consumption in the pre-harvest season the attenuation of the reduction of many of the
nutrients; on the other hand, in young children from the poorest rural families, differences in
caloric intake between the pre-harvest and harvest seasons were also found. (67)
Anyway, in studies intended to evaluate the seasonal food consumption, it has been
shown that the variety and quantity are higher in the harvest and post-harvest seasons.
Becquey and colleagues found in Burkina Faso that during the lean season, staple
dishes were often bought ready to eat and less prepared at home with fresh ingredients by
urban households. (55) The lean season was associated with lower food security compared
to the post-harvest season and, with the exception for vitamin B12, nutrient adequacy ratios
were also lower in the lean season. (55)
In the same country, Savy and colleagues found that rural women consumed more
legumes, cow's milk and vegetables, and consumed less purchased food as meat, oils and
37

fats in September (post-harvest season), maintaining a good dietary diversity compared with
the month of April that preceded the harvest season. (48)
Graham found that families of a village in Peru consumed more locally produced food
in harvest and post-harvest seasons, most notably in the poorest families; she also found
that women from poorer families ate fewer calories in the pre-harvest season than women
from families with better resources. (41)
The same author also found that younger children showed the greatest decrease in
calorie intake after the harvest season, increasing somewhat during the pre-season, being
this observation associated with the inability to assess the consumption of food away from
home, but in general, a decrease in energy intake at the pre-harvest season was noted. (42)
Tetens and colleagues found that energy intake increased about 20% from the preharvest season (October-November) to harvest season (February-March) in the inhabitants
of a village in Bangladesh, and the greater energy intake in the harvest season came mostly
from rice consumption. (43)
In the same country, in another study, it was found that in adults the intake of calories
in the first months of the year was significantly higher, coinciding with the harvest season, but
in older children this difference did not happened; in younger children similar changes were
observed but only for boys, because in the girls a higher intake of calories in the pre-harvest
season was found. Protein intake was also higher in the first months of the year in all age
groups and both sexes. (44)
A study conducted in South Africa found that children ate more -carotene at the time
when fruits and vegetables rich in this nutrient were more available for consumption
(November), and associated with the consumption of these foods, presenting simultaneously
higher iron and calcium intake and to a lesser extent, magnesium, vitamin C and riboflavin.
(24)
In summary, despite the exceptions found in some studies on energy, (23,67)
proteins, (23,67) carbohydrates (23) and fats (67) intake, there are seasonal fluctuations
more or less marked in the energy and nutrients intake associated with fluctuations in food
consumption, being energy intake higher in the harvest and post-harvest seasons, (4144,46,54,55) and the same trend is observed in the intake of macronutrients like proteins (44,
46) and total fat, (23) but also in micronutrients such as vitamin C, (23,24,55) -carotene,
(24) vitamin A, (55,67) calcium, thiamine and riboflavin, (24,55,67) among others. (24,55)

38

III)

Seasonal variation in nutritional and health status

It was expected that the seasonal change in energy and nutrients intake will result in
changes in anthropometric and analytical parameters, with equivalent seasonal impact on
the nutritional and health status, but also here the results found in various studies are
somewhat inconsistent.
Few published studies address the seasonal changes in nutritional or health status in
developed countries, and even fewer relate changes in nutrition or health status with the
seasonal intake of energy and nutrients.
In a study conducted in the US, Ma and colleagues found fluctuations in weight of
overweight individuals and in energy intake throughout the year: in both genders there was
an increase in weight in the winter, especially in the age group between 40 and 50, which
was associated with greater energy intake in general and fat in particular, in the immediately
preceding period (fall) and decreased physical activity in winter. (17)
In the same country, Cook and colleagues also found an increase in body weight
during the winter holiday quarter, attributable to excessive food consumption in this period.
(68)
Also in other study conducted with Chinese women, Fowke and colleagues found that
in winter the women weighed more and had higher body mass index (BMI), but they also had
higher energy intake, and fat intake in particular, than in summer. (19)
In another study conducted in Israeli men, Shahar and colleagues found differences
in Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure and serum total and LDL cholesterol between
summer and winter, reaching higher values in winter, which were related to higher fat and
cholesterol intake verified in that season. (13,16)
The seasonal food consumption and consequent intake of certain nutrients during
pregnancy can influence anthropometric measurements of infants born at certain seasons of
the year, particularly at the cellular level, even if the overall effect of the seasons is not
significant in gestational age, birth weight and head circumference, as was observed in the
study by Watson and McDonald in New Zealand. (39)
Directed toward the consequences on health status, in a study done by Cox and
colleagues, who sought to relate the seasonal consumption of raw salads and fresh fruit with
the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, (9) it was found that in men,
regular consumption of salads in winter had greater protective effect on the development of
39

CVD and cancer than the regular consumption of these in the summer, although the
consumption of fruits did not show significant protection in any of the seasons. In women,
regular consumption of salads in any season had a protective effect on the development of
CVD, but not in the development of cancer, while consumption of fruit showed less significant
protective effect on the development of CVD and just regular consumption of fruit in winter
showed a protective effect in cancer development. (9)
In the poorest countries the consequences of the seasonal energy and nutrients
intake on nutritional and health status tend to be more expressive. Considering the studies
conducted in different poor Asian, African and American countries, there were some
similarities - an increase in weight and BMI in the seasons in which there is greater energy
intake. (43,46,48,52,54,56,67,69-71)
In India, the BMI of pregnant women was higher after the winter (which coincides with
the time of post-harvest) in relation to BMI of pregnant women with the same gestation time
in the previous season, and weight and length at birth of their babies when they were born
were higher in the summer, being these differences attributed to greater energy intake in the
harvest season (winter). (46)
Another study of pregnant women from a rural area of Nepal also showed higher
prevalence of anemia and multiple micronutrient deficiencies in the rainy season, associated
with less variety and quantity in food consumption in that season. (69)
The BMI of women in villages of Burkina Faso is also higher after the harvest season,
both in the poorest and in the most advantaged classes, being related to higher energy
intake and higher rates of food diversification. (48) In the same country, a different study
demonstrated that the adult BMI increased in the harvest season associated with 1 kg
increase in adults weight, although the results of other anthropometric measures, as the
perimeter of the arm, were not evident; in children, changes in anthropometric measures
were contrary to expectations, being these differences unclear. (56)
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was also found that women were subject to
greater fluctuations in weight compared to men, losing more weight in the pre-harvest
seasons and gaining more weight in the harvest seasons. (52)
In Bangladesh, many years ago, there was a higher prevalence of malnutrition or
poor growth in children and adolescents of both sexes in the rainy season. (54,70) In this
same country it was found that the rural population, highly dependent on own crops,
presented fluctuations in energy intake throughout the year in both genders and at different
40

ages, but children and adolescents were better adapted to these fluctuations because the
prevalence of undernutrition was similar throughout the year. (43)
In Kenya, the growth of children from poor families proved to be influenced by
seasonal fluctuations in household food availability, showing significant improvements in
harvest season, especially in children of larger families. (67)
In Gambia, even children who lived in urban areas, where the seasonality in food
availability was not determinative for energy and macronutrients intake and getting food was
not dependent on own families production, there have been significant fluctuations in the
growth of children between the rainy and dry seasons. (71)
In these countries it is common to see in the individuals subject to higher food
deprivation physiological adaptations such as a decrease in basal metabolism (associated
with loss of weight, fat and muscle mass), and possibly the option for lighter work and / or
longer periods of rest during times of greatest need. (43,52)

DISCUSSION
The determinants of food choices are wide and varied, (72,73) but the "environment"
where individuals are is often neglected in detriment of genetic, physiological, sensory,
economic or even cultural aspects. One of the most obvious environmental determinants is
the seasonality, which despite influencing the availability of food, especially by its influence in
production and availability of food within families, has received little attention.
It is well accepted that several days are needed for a correct individual nutritional
assessment, (7,13 38,40) but studies have shown that there is a marked seasonal variation
in the intake of some nutrients that are due to the consumption of different foods, either in
quantity or quality, often of seasonal production. (7,8,13,23,36,54)
The effect of the seasons is therefore an important source of variation in individuals
food consumption and nutrients intake, both in rich and developed countries as in poorest
and less developed countries, but may have different effects depending on the social group
(ethnicity, gender or age) (4,23,29,36,41,42,45,47,57) or socioeconomic status considered,
(19,41) regardless of climatic changes between seasons that influence the production,
availability and price of food for sale. (4,8,42,54,74)

41

Many of these observations can be subject to methodological bias or other, (18) but it
is possible that many of them are real and related not only with food availability, but also with
cultural influences, (4,7,8,47,58,63,65) specially noted in festivities and holidays, (68) or even
the much longer duration of the day in relation to night in some seasons. (47)
In a social perspective, and being eating habits in families not exclusively affected by
seasonal availability of food production, it appears that cultural influences on food behavior
also show cycles over the year, giving a seasonal character to eating habits. Thus, and
without misrepresent cultural practices that define the identity of a country or region, but at
the same time not neglecting the potential problems for the nutritional status deriving from it,
it is a priority to perform holistic interventions. (75)
Access to and availability of food are possible to handle and can get great health
benefits, even with small changes in household food availability. (31) It is therefore important
to implement simultaneously broader and ecological programs in incentive and regulation of
production and marketing foods, that should favorably modify the accessibility and the
community "food environment" on which consumers are subject and thus eliminate barriers
faced in adopting healthy eating habits. (3,11,76-86)
On the other hand, the establishment of partnerships between producers and
cooperatives with social agencies allow the disposal of surplus peak production, which
instead of receiving subsidies for crop destruction could be allocated as donations to poor
families or institutions, supporting them as a partial replacement of the financial assistance
they receive from the Government. (11,76)
However, economic intervention is time consuming, as it requires a jointed work
between various public and private entities, and cannot bring effects as fast as desirable to
avoid unintended consequences on nutritional status of individuals, families or societies
expected by increasing food insecurity caused by rising food prices worldwide. (85,87-93)
The decrease of economic power of families, even in developed countries, (91-96) and in
particular, Portugal, (97-99) makes essential that the healthy food model should be available
and accessible to everyone.
Moreover, the global concern with food production and ecological and socioeconomic sustainability is growing quickly. Evidence is given to the educational role of
promoting the consumption of locally produced products, or on a larger scale, nationally
produced, at the expense of internationally marketed food. (80,100-104)

42

Despite the constraints on the availability to purchase food produced in season, which
will be more notable when food is produced closer to the local of consumption, (104,105)
organoleptic characteristics (and in particular the flavor) and the lower price, together with
the optimization of their nutritional value, make them more appreciated by consumers.
(100,104,106)
Enhance the concept of a true "food diversification" by choosing foods in season is
essential in promoting healthy and sustainable eating habits, which was absent from
conventional recommendations for nutrition education for a long time, (103) but now is
beginning to be included in official recommendations of some countries, (107-110) or even in
activity sectors such as catering, by celebrity chefs. (2,111)
So, it is necessary to invest in consumers education with regard to healthier food
choices in a perspective of sustainable family economics, (78,83,96,112) focusing, for
example, in the promotion of seasonal food consumption that are cheaper, fresher, tastier
and promoters of more variety, and often in line with the expectations and cultural habits of
consumers, (78,113) instead of "cheaper calories" found in processed foods often preserved
by high amounts of salt or sugar and high saturated fat content. (93)
Governments have the responsibility to ensure a supply of safe, nutritious and varied
foods to its population, allowing them to choose a diet that promotes health. (61) Ignoring the
external political and economic factors of access to and acquisition of food by families, the
food education programs for individual or communities are conditioned to failure, not by
lacking of knowledge or interest of consumers, but by the barriers they face in their adoption.
(76,82,84)
Strengths and weaknesses:
Results from this literature review have to be interpreted in regard of some limitations.
First, most of these studies are of ecological or cross-sectional nature, and had not intended
to assess the seasonality in household food availability, food consumption or energy and
nutrients intake, despite the methodology used in questionnaires for collecting data and
dietary habits allowed detecting differences in food consumption and / or energy and
nutrients intake throughout the year.
Differences in characteristics of the study population in several studies were
accentuated: different age groups (children only, only the elderly, etc.), exclusion or
dominance of one sex (men only, women only, etc.) or physiological condition (exp.:

43

pregnant), or local of data collection (workplace, hospital, etc.), but also the urbanization
degree of place of residence (rural, urban, etc.).
Besides differences in the population studied, sample selection was also quite
different across studies: different sample sizes, sampling methods (random or convenience
sampling), or representativeness of the study population. The collection and processing of
the data also showed important differences, since the use of very different techniques of data
collection between studies were not always easy to compare (food frequency questionnaires,
food diaries, 24-hours dietary recall, etc.), use of means or medians in results, and the level
of significance or confidence intervals were not always mentioned.
These studies limitations contributed to narrowed comparisons between studies,
whose results cannot be generalized, because the cultural differences within and between
countries are notorious and the quality of the studies is variable.
Despite of some weaknesses, this review has the strength of being the first one
attempting to highlight the relationship between variation in food consumption throughout the
year and the resulting variation in energy and nutrients intake, as well as the impact of these
changes in nutritional status.
In addition, the thorough search of published papers that somehow present relevant
results to the intended purpose and the broadening inclusion criteria for published papers
(publication date, study design, study population, etc.) made possible to distinguish
similarities and differences between regions and countries and between population groups,
with regard to eating habits throughout the year.
Implications and future work:
It is necessary for health professionals to understand the seasonality in food choices
and their relationship to health. In fulfilling one of the requirements of a health promoting diet
- the variety, without compromising the ecological and economic sustainability of the
agricultural system, health professionals have the key role to show the ability to integrate the
seasonality in food production with food consumption in food education programs and health
promotion. (75,114,115)
To achieve this, it is necessary to know what is happening throughout the year in food
habits and nutritional health status. Getting to known the presence or absence of differences
in dietary habits through the year within and between countries, will allow identifying food
habits to maintain and promote and food habits to correct or demote, while respecting the
44

cultural identity of the regions of each country and across countries. So that the results are
comparable and that the recommendations are based on arguments put forward, it is
necessary to conduct studies that explore this topic objectively, and it is also necessary to
standardize research methods, including the sample selection and data collection.

CONCLUSION
The network of trade tends to be different depending on the level of the countries
development and richness, as a result of technological change at the primary production,
processing and marketing of food, as well as the social and cultural needs, reflected in the
availability of food for consumption throughout the year.
In rich and developed countries, as in poor and less developed countries, there are
few and not directly comparable studies that seek to evaluate the seasonality in food
consumption and energy and nutrient intakes. Despite scarce, when it is possible to assess
food consumption over the year it was found there are differences in the regions of a country
and between countries, and that some foods, often fruits and vegetables, showed seasonal
variation in consumption. These differences are often attributed to the household food
availability due to the seasonality of agricultural production and consequent relations
between producers, marketers and consumers, but also to cultural food habits.
However, seasonal intake of energy and nutrients showed more inconsistent results.
In rich and developed countries, seasonal variation in the intake of energy and nutrients was
lower when compared to the consumption of food, and the variation in macronutrients intake
tends to be smaller than the variation in micronutrients intake, regardless of variation in
energy intake. In poor and less developed countries energy intake was higher in the harvest
and post-harvest seasons, reflecting the same trend in the intake of nutrients.
When significant, these seasonal changes in food consumption and, in particular,
seasonal changes in energy and nutrients intake, tend to be reflected with greater or lesser
severity in the nutritional status leading, in turn, to health consequences.
Despite of the great improvements in food production and transport, the influence of
the seasons in food consumption is still noticeable, so the cyclic variation of energy and
nutrient intakes may represent an important public health problem. It is therefore essential to
consider seasonal variations not only in the assessment of food consumption or energy and

45

nutrient intakes and their relationship to the disease, but also in making regional and national
recommendations on nutrition policy and public health.

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56

Annex 1 - Seasonal variation on food availability, food consumption and energy and nutrient intakes
I)

In developed countries

Author(s)

Rossato et al
2010
Brazil
(4)

Yannakoulia et al.
2010
Greece
(45)

Subjects and
Sample

Design

Results *

Strengths *

Weaknesses *

Only carbohydrate and total fat showed


differences after adjustment for potential
confounders: the carbohydrate intake was higher
in summer while total fat intake was lowest.
The effect of seasons on energy and nutrient
intake depends of gender and age: mens intake
of total fat was higher in autumn and spring and
intake of carbohydrate was higher in summer;
subjects aged from 20 to 39 years old had higher
carbohydrate intake in summer and higher total fat
intake in autumn and winter.

Careful was given to the


training of the researchers
and for minimizing
methodological errors in the
dietary recall.

Study aims to evaluate


energy and nutrient intake
instead of foods, so
differences may be
attributable to differences in
food eaten.
Reduced number of days
per person for dietary recall
in each season.
Non-probabilistic sample,
characterized by a high
level of education.

162 (114 women), aged 20


to 69 years old, free of
medical conditions that
could interfere with dietary
habits.

24-hour dietary recall on six


interviews per person
through the year, using a
photographic food album to
facilitate the identification of
the foods ingested and their
different portion sizes.

623 children and


adolescents randomly
selected from a
representative sample of
Greek children and
adolescents of 3 18 years
old.

Telephone interviews were


used to collect information
on dietary intake.
Dietary assessment was
based on two 24-h recalls
made with 6 month
intervals: the first during the
spring/ summer season and
the second during the
autumn/ winter season.

Daily energy intake in spring/ summer season was


8231 Kcal higher compared to the one in autumn/
winter season, after adjusting for potential
confounders (p=0,008).
The contribution of the macronutrients to the total
energy intake was not statistically different
between the seasons, as also for vitamin C and
calcium.

Errors from cognitive


reasons or from dietary
under-reporting were
minimized by carefully
interviewing either the
parent, instead of the child
or adolescent, and
quantifying dietary intake
using a food probe list
containing common
household or other
measures.

The recall technique is not


satisfactory enough to
estimate actual intake on an
individual basis.

57

Prasad et al.
2010
Finland
(8)

Schtzer et al.
2009
Austria
(29)

58

4880 pregnant Finnish


women, of Type 1
Diabetes Prediction and
Prevention Nutrition Study
Cohort.

Transversal study.
Validated 181-item Food
Frequency Questionnaire
applied retrospectively after
delivery.

The overall vegetable intake was highest in the


summer and lowest in the winter; however there
were differences within the vegetable subgroups:
cabbages and roots and tubers (except potato)
were most consumed in autumn, while leafy
vegetables and vegetable fruits were most
consumed in the summer.
The consumption of fruits and berries was lowest
during the summer, but berry consumption alone
was highest during the summer and autumn while
imported citrus fruits consumption was higher in
the winter.
Sausages, ice cream and soft drinks were most
consumed in the summer and tea consumption
was highest in the autumn and winter.
There were no significant differences in
consumption of fish, meat, milk and dairy, and fat
and oils between the seasons and only slight
difference in cereal consumption which was
highest during the autumn.
Seasonal differences in food consumption were
accompanied by corresponding variations on
nutrient intake, despite no difference on energy
intake: the proportion of energy from total fat and
mono-unsatured fatty acids (MUFA) were higher in
the summer
The intake of dietary fiber was lowest during
summer as also the proportion of energy from total
carbohydrate (but not from sucrose).
Intake of vitamin E and iron was higher in summer
while the intake of vitamin C was lowest in the
same season; the intake of vitamin A was higher in
autumn and winter and the intake of vitamin D was
higher in spring, while folate was higher intake in
winter.
There were no significant differences on protein
intake and on some other vitamins and minerals
(-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, thiamin,
riboflavin and calcium).

Four independent subsamples (one for each


season) of a total of 2704
Austrian adults aged 19-64
years old.

Cross-sectional study.
Nationwide postal selfadministered questionnaire,
completed with a Food
Frequency Questionnaire
for qualitative assessment,
and a 24-hour recall
questionnaire with
household measures, for
quantitative assessment.

No significant difference in the intake frequency


and on average serving sizes of fruits between the
different seasons.
Participants consumed vegetables less frequently
in winter than in the summer (p<0,001), but the
average serving sizes were similar.

Large population-based
cohort representing the
overall population of
pregnant Finnish women.
Use of a validated Food
Frequency Questionnaire

Representative Austrian
adult sample.
Efficient implementation and
a high response rate in the
study.

Potential for information


bias caused by current diet:
mothers filled the FFQ
retrospectively and
seasonal reporting was also
possible.
More participation of women
with higher education and
smaller number of children
in the study, which are likely
to be more health
conscious.

More participation of
women, which are likely to
be more health conscious.
Estimation of portion sizes
using household measures
instead of picture examples
in the 24-hour recall.

Locke et al.
2009
USA
(5)

101 farm worker Hispanic


families and 100 non-farm
worker Hispanic families.

Giles et al.
2008
UK
(37)

357 post-menopausal
women, aged 58-65 years
old.

Ishiwaki et al.
2007
Japan
(38)

208 men and 251 women,


aged 50-69 years old.

Watson and
McDonald
2007
New Zealand
(39)

Mhurchu et al.
2007
New Zealand
(22)

Self-administered
questionnaire to collect
information on consumption
of locally grown fruits and
vegetables and sources for
obtaining them.
Data were collected
longitudinally coinciding
with three agricultural
seasons: thinning
(summer), harvest (fall) and
nonspray (winter).
Food records based on
EPIC food diary, applied
with a 3-monthly intervals
over a year.
1 day semi-weighed diet
record (with approximate
proportion), applied on
three non-consecutive
days, four times each
season of the year.

Fruit and vegetable consumption was highest in


the harvest season: apples, pears, plums,
peaches and apricots in the fall, and cherries in
the summer; asparagus in the summer, peppers,
corn and cucumbers in the fall, carrots and
pumpkins in the winter, and squash in the fall and
winter.
Consumption of green beans, tomatoes and
onions were similar across the seasons.

Longitudinal cohort study.


Well trained research staff.

Convenience sample and


small sample size.
More womens participation
in the sample and families
with a child aged 2 to 6
years old.
Potential for information
bias due to memory.
No collection data on the
number of servings of fruits
and vegetables consumed.

Vitamin C and folate intakes were significantly


higher in the summer and in the spring (p<0,001),
possible due to higher consumption of salads and
fruit; vitamin E, vitamin D, iron and magnesium
were also higher in the summer, but calcium intake
was higher in the spring.

Longitudinal study

Study design aims evaluate


energy and relevant nutrient
intakes for studying
osteoporosis outcomes.

The intake of vitamin C was highest in autumn in


both men and women.

Subjects were recruited


from a wide area of Japan.

Convenience sample.

16 days of accurate
weighed diet records (8
days in the beginning of the
second trimester and 8 days
at the beginning of the third
trimester).

Possible selection bias due


to the heavy compliance
burden on the respondents
(leading to a cohort slightly
wealthier and more
homogeneous than the
general population, less
affected by seasonal
variation in price of some
fresh produce).

The majority of food


purchased in developed
countries occurs in
supermarkets.

Measure of food purchases,


instead of food
consumption.
Small sample size.

214 healthy pregnant


women, entering the
second trimester of
pregnancy.

Prospective cohort study.


8 days records of weighed
diets in both the fourth and
seventh month.

The intake of fiber, phosphor, calcium, selenium,


thiamine, vitamin B6, biotin and vitamin C was
higher in spring and lower in summer. The intake
of total fat, saturated fatty acids and folate was
also higher in spring but lower in winter and the
intake of sucrose and vitamin D was higher in
spring and lower in autumn. Only the intake of
sulfur, chloride, sodium, potassium and zinc was
higher in winter and lower in summer and carotene intake was higher in autumn and lower in
spring.

97 costumers of a
supermarket

12-week, single-blind, pilot


study performed in summer
and winter.
Food purchases were
measured using
individualized electronic
shopping data.

Strong seasonal variation in fruit and vegetable


purchases, with greater quantities being
purchased in summer than in winter.

59

Ma et al.
2006
USA
(17)

Capita and
Alonso-Calleja
2005
Spain
(36)

60

593 participants aged 20-70


years old, mostly recruited
from a health maintenance
organization.

303 participants (142 men


and 161 women) aged 1940 years old from northwest
Spain.

Longitudinal observational
study (cohort study).
Three 24-h dietary recall (2
weekdays and 1 weekend
day) applied in the
beginning of the study and
quarterly during the year to
each participant by trained
registered dietitians

7 non-consecutive-day
dietary records applied
throughout 7 consecutive
weeks both in winter and
summer.
The dietary record included
a list with different portions
of common foods

Daily caloric intake had an average difference of


86 Kcal higher in the fall compared to the spring.
Carbohydrate percentage of calories was highest
in the spring, while total fat and saturated fat
percentages were highest in the fall.
Percentage of calories from proteins remained
stable during the year.
The timing of the peak of caloric and nutrient
intakes and magnitude of seasonal variation
showed differences by demographic factors: males
were more affected as also the age group between
40-50 years old, nonwhite and less educated.
Male showed a higher intake in the winter for most
food groups, and only legumes, fruits, milk
products and water were more consumed in the
summer; female showed a wide pattern with
cereals, milk products, oils and fats, vegetables,
fruits, alcoholic beverages, sauces and water
being more consumed in the summer.
Generally, oranges, bananas, green beans and
dried fruits were more consumed in winter, while
melons, tomatoes, lettuce and ice cream were
more consumed in summer.
Total daily food (excluding water) amount in winter
was higher than in summer in males (p<0,001), but
not for females.
Higher average absolute intakes for energy in men
and most nutrients in both sexes were found in
winter - variations of nutrient intakes throughout
the course of the year mainly depend on food/
energy amount variations in males (quantitative
diet changes), while densities of nutrients are
mainly responsible for dietary variations in female
(qualitative diet changes).

Two season approaches


were used in the analyses.
More accurate data and
less recall bias from the 24hour diet recall than food
frequency questionnaires.
Heterogeneous group.

Data included both food and


beverages consumed at
home and outside home.

Information on diet was


obtained from self-report.
Participants were recruited
from a generally healthy
and high motivated
population.
Seasonal variations do not
appear great enough to take
in account in longitudinal
and cross-sectional studies.

The participants came from


only a region of the country.

Fowke et al.
2004
China
(19)

74958 women aged 40-70


years old, from Shanghai
Womens Health Study.

Prospective etiologic cohort


study.
Food Frequency
Questionnaire covering
90% of commonly eaten
foods in urban Shanghai,
referring the approximate
amount of consumption,
was applied in the
beginning of recruitment.

Fahey et al.
2003
Japan
(7)

127 married couples in four


regions of the Japan Public
Health Center Cohort
Study.

Cohort Study.
Weighed daily food records
completed by women for
both family members, on 7
consecutive days, over
consecutive seasons.

Tokudome et al.
2002
Japan
(40)

80 Japanese female
dietitians, aged 32-66 years
old.

Four season selfadministered consecutive 7


day weighed records.

Women completing an FFQ in the winter reported


greater energy intake compared to women
completing an FFQ in the summer.
Winter subjects reported the highest fat and
protein intakes and vegetable and meat
consumption, and lower carbohydrates intake and
fruit consumption. Summer subjects reported
lower fat and protein intakes, and vegetable, meat
and soy consumption. Fall subjects reported
higher fruit and soy consumption, while spring
subjects reported lower fish and fruit consumption
and similar summer subjects soy consumption.
There was little variation in rice consumption
across the seasons.
Winter subjects reported higher consumption of
several foods, with the largest differences in pork,
fish, soybeans, wax gourd and Chinese greens;
summer subjects reported the highest
consumption of several fruits, and moderately
higher consumption of several vegetables and
shellfish; and fall subjects reported the greatest
watermelon consumption.
Vitamin C intake was greatest in summer and
autumn, and was related to fruit and some
vegetable consumption.
Carotene intake was greater in winter than in the
other seasons and intake was related to similar
pattern in some vegetable consumption.
Thiamin and retinol intake was less seasonal but
they were greatest in winter and autumn.
The effects were less seasonal among energy and
10 other nutrients.
Most nutrients and energy were significantly
different by season, showed in autumn the biggest
intake (except carbohydrates, phosphorus, vitamin
D, oleic acid, -linolenic acid and cholesterol) and
remarkable differences were observed for
carotenes, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, zinc,
arachidonic acid, n-3 PUFA, EPA, DHA and
dietary fiber, where daily intakes of carotenes and
vitamin C in autumn were 20% larger than in
summer.

High number of participants.

Only urban female


participants.

Careful was taken to record


correctly all food and
beverages consumed.

Participation of more health


conscious families.

Evaluation of energy and 30


nutrients.

Convenience sample, with


high nutrition knowledge.

61

Semi-quantitative food
frequency questionnaire,
covering seasonal
consumption, applied twice
a year (in summer and
winter) by personal
interview.

The total energy and nutrients intakes (except for


carbohydrates, vitamin A and magnesium) were
higher in winter compared to summer, with
significant increases in total fat, saturated fat,
polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, zinc,
thiamin, vitamin D and vitamin E, after adjustment
for caloric intake by season.
The differences were in part explained by higher
consumption of meats, specially shishlik and lunch
meat, and hard boiled eggs in winter (p<0.05).
Most subjects ate salad vegetables less frequently
in winter than in summer; in contrast, most
subjects ate fresh fruit with the same frequency in
both seasons.
Almost no respondents reported consuming salad
vegetables and fresh fruit more frequently in winter
than in summer.
Hot cereal was consumed three times higher in
winter than in summer; roast chicken and rice
were also more consumed in winter than in
summer.
Strawberries, fresh peaches, pears, apricots,
plums, melons, cherries and fresh green beans
were much more consumed in summer, and
chocolate was also more consumed in summer.
2% milk, muffins, salty snacks, spaghetti, milk and
sugar with coffee or tea, dark bread, canned corn,
potatoes, butter, orange juice and ice cream
showed little difference or no change between
summer and winter consumption.

Use of different versions of


the food frequency
questionnaires in the
different seasons.
Highly selected population
and sample, and
consequently low
reproducibility in other
developed countries.
Only salad vegetables and
fresh fruit consumption were
evaluated.
There were no quantitative
measures for salad
vegetables and fresh fruit
consumption.

Shahar et al.
2001
Shahar et al.
1999
Israel
(13,16)

94 male industrial
employees (mean age
42.511.9 years).

Cox et al.
2000
UK
(9)

1489 men and 1900


women, aged 35-75 years
old, from the British Health
and Lifestyle Survey.

Face-to-face interviews,
including a Food Frequency
Questionnaire.

43 healthy subjects, aged


25-50 years old, who were
not on a special diet.

Pilot study.
117 item Food Frequency
Questionnaire measured in
usual serving units, applied
in summer (16 subjects)
and in winter (another 27
subjects).

12243 outpatient subjects


without cancer aged 18-91
years.

Selected food frequency


questionnaire, where
dietary items were
individually dichotomized by
habitual practice or intake
frequency.

Proportional frequency of each food category was


generally stable throughout the year in males, but
in females, there were seasonal variations in some
categories: green tea and green vegetables were
referred with a higher proportional frequency in
winter and spring, and fruits and pickled
vegetables in winter.

Large sample size, with


similar subjects
representativeness in each
season.

Possible information bias


due to potential
cooperativeness of
outpatients subjects than
general population.
Dichotomization of the food
frequency questionnaire.
Limited food items included
in the study.

366 residents from the Inuit


community.

Quantitative 24-h dietary


recall interviews using
calibrated portion models,
with 2-month intervals.

The greatest energy intake from market food and


the lowest energy intake from traditional food were
in November; the inverse was seen in September.
Mean energy intake was lower in January and
higher in July, due to the greatest traditional food
intake in summer.

Inclusion of members of all


strata of the community.
Many members contributed
dietary recalls over several
seasons.

Sample
underrepresentation of
fishermen and hunters.

Joachim G.
1997
Canada
(20)

Inoue et al.
1997
Japan
(35)

Kuhnlein et al.
1996
Canada
(47)

62

Small sample size.


Different subjects in the two
seasons.

Subar et al.
1994
USA
(18)

Bingham et al.
1994
UK
(50)

Ziegler et al.
1987
USA
(10)

20143 adults from the


National Health Interview
Survey.

160 women, aged 50 65


years old, from two general
practices in Cambridge.

888 predominantly white


men, aged 26-90 years old,
from six lung cancer highrisk areas of New Jersey.

Transversal study.
59-item Food Frequency
Questionnaire, indicating
the approximate portion
size.

Oranges were more consumed in winter compared


with summer and fall, with similar result for
grapefruit.
Chocolate candy was also more consumed in
winter than in summer and wine was more
consumed in winter than in fall
Tomatoes were more consumed in summer, as
also ice cream.
The lowest intakes for cooked cereal were
reported in spring and summer.
Despite differences in food consumption reported
through the year, no nutritional meaningful
differences were found in the estimated nutrient
intakes by season.

16 days weighed record


through the year (4 days
period in each season,
including week and
weekend days)

There was a trend towards lower nutrient ingestion


in spring and summer, but only carbohydrate,
starch, calcium and retinol were significant lower in
summer.
Food consumption in each season showed
significant differences only for soups and sauces,
which were more consumed in autumn than in
summer.

Small sample size.

Case-control study.
44-items Food Frequency
Questionnaire, with
relevance for the major
sources of preformed retinol
and carotenoids.

Cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, nectarines and


tomatoes were referred to be more consumed in
season rather all-year around, and pink grape fruit,
apricots and canned peaches were referred to be
consumed all-year around.
Except summer squash, all other vegetables were
referred to be more consumed all-year around.
Green cabbage, carrots, green peas, broccoli,
winter squash, yam-pumpkin, canned peaches
and pink grapefruit were eaten more often in
winter-fall than in summer-spring; all other fruits
and vegetables were more consumed in summerspring.
Carotenoid intake and total vegetables and fruits
consumption in winter-fall was estimated to be
about two-thirds than in summer-spring and fruit
intake alone was about one-third than in summerspring.

The FFQ-list only included


fruits and vegetables rich in
carotenoids.
No quantification of
carotenoid rich fruits and
vegetables, which may lead
to overestimation.
Only men were included in
the study.

Big sample size.


Representativeness of the
US households.

Inclusion of limited varieties


of fruits and vegetables in
the list of the FFQ.

63

II)

In less developed countries or developing countries

Author(s)

Subjects and
Sample

Design

Results *
During the lean season, staple dishes were more
often bought ready-to-eat and contained fewer raw
ingredients prepared at home than in the postharvest season.
Energy requirements coverage at home was
higher in the post-harvest season and, except for
vitamin B12, micronutrient adequacy was also
higher in this season.
Diet quality was much lower during the lean
season, except for households of the highest level
of food expenditure, who showed a more stable
diet quality.
At 18th week of gestation, average energy and
protein intakes were highest during January in
winter or harvest season: 1920 Kcal/day and 50,4
g/day, respectively, diminished during the summer
or dry season, and were lowest during June in
the monsoon or rainy season: 1609 Kcal/day and
42,2 g/day, respectively.
At 28th week of gestation the seasonal variability
was similar, but less prominent.

Becquey et al.
2011
Burkina Faso
(55)

1056 urban households.

Longitudinal study.
24-h dietary recall at
household level applied on
two non-consecutive days
in the lean and rainy
season by face-to-face
interviews.

Rao et al.
2009
India
(46)

633 pregnant rural women


with mean age of 21.4
years old, of Pune Maternal
Nutrition Study.

24-h dietary recall (with


record of the average
weight of servings) at 18th
week and 28th week of
gestation and Food
Frequency Questionnaire.

482 low-income urban


households.

Household assessment
including a 22 modules
instrument covering a
series of topics as
household demographics,
expenditure, savings and
debt, employment, urban
agriculture and health.

The proportion of households classified as food


insecure was roughly 6.5% points higher during
the monsoon / rainy season. Variation in caloric
availability followed a similar pattern, although the
results were not always significant.
The odds of being a food insecure household were
60% lower during the dry season.

80 children (45 boys and 35


girls) aged 6-8 years old.

Longitudinal study.
Three consecutive days
observed weighed records,
applied at the end of the
harvest season and six
months later in the end of
the pre-harvest season.

Consumption of millet, sorghum, cassava and


vegetables in the post-harvest season was
significantly lower than in the pre-harvest season,
but yam consumption was significantly higher in
the post-harvest season. Maize consumption was
similar on both seasons. Animal products
consumption in the post-harvest season was
higher, but the difference was not significant.
Daily intakes of energy, protein, carbohydrate,

Hillbruner and
Egan
2008
Bangladesh
(54)

Mitchikpe et al.
2008
Benin
(23)

64

Strengths *

Longitudinal study.
Representative sample.

Weaknesses *

Exclusion of food eaten


outside the home and
consumed on individual
level inside home.

Only pregnant women who


lived in rural villages
participated in the study.

Exclusion of households
that did not participate in all
three rounds of the study
biased the sample to
healthier households.
Analysis of secondary data,
which collection was
implemented by an external
survey research firm.

Longitudinal study.

fiber, calcium, iron and zinc in the post-harvest


season were not different from those in the preharvest season.
Median intakes of fat and vitamin C in the postharvest season were lower than in the pre-harvest
season (p<0.5).
For both post- and pre-harvest season, boys
showed higher intakes of energy, protein, fiber,
iron and zinc, than girls (p<0.5).

Faber and
Laubscher
2008
South Africa
(24)

Handa and Mlay


2006
Mozambique
(25)

187 rural children, aged 2-5


years old.

8250 households from


Inqurito Nacional aos
Agregados Familiares.

Repeated cross-sectional
dietary study.
Unquantified Food
Frequency Questionnaire
(for qualitative assessment
of -carotene rich
vegetables and fruits) + 24h dietary recall repeated on
5 consecutive days (one on
weekend and 4 on week
days), using fresh or plastic
food models, household
utensils and threedimensional sponge models
to quantify the food eaten,
performed every trimester
during one year.

There were seasonal variation in -carotene-rich


vegetables and fruit consumption by children:
butternut squash, pumpkin and orange-fleshed
sweet potato were consumed mostly during the
first half of the year, while carrots were consumed
mostly during the second half of the year; spinach
and paw-paw were consumed mostly during the
second half of the year and imifino, mango and
yellow peach at the beginning and at the end of
the year.
Inadequate dietary vitamin A intake ranged from
6% in November to 21% in February and August.
November also showed the best intake for almost
other micronutrients studied.

Cross-sectional study.
Seasonal household food
and household total
expenditure data from
Inqurito Nacional aos
Agregados Familiares
coinciding similarly with the
four trimesters of the year,
with the lean season in
September-December and
peak season in MayAugust.

In households from rural areas, the cereal (and


particularly maize) and vegetables food budget
share is highest in the first two trimesters and
lowest in the last trimester, while for roots and
tubers (mainly cassava) and for legumes was
observed the opposite effect in food budget share;
meats, fruit and other foods also showed
seasonality effects on budget shares, but not fish
and seafood.
In urban areas, households revealed the same
general picture of substitution between cereals
and roots and tubers, but despite the much higher
share of cereals and lower share of roots and
tubers compared to rural households, the highest
share of cereal and the lowest share of roots and
tubers were observed in the last trimester of the
year; the legume share was lowest at the
beginning of the year, and there was relatively
small fluctuation in vegetables share through the
year; fruits, meats and fish and seafood also
showed seasonal variation on budget shares.

The 24-h dietary recall was


carried out only in one place
of the study and only the
caregivers/ children who
were able to complete the 5
consecutive days 24-h
dietary recall were included.

Nationally
representativeness.
Seasonal
representativeness in rural
areas.

Seasonal bias in
households interview in
urban areas.
Measure of food availability,
instead of food
consumption.

65

Savy et al.
2006
Burkina Faso
(48)

550 rural women, with a


child less than 5 years old.

Graham
2004
Peru
(41)

15 adult women
(31.136.27 years) from 15
households from a rural
community, with at least
one child between 6
months and less than 5
years.

Graham
2003
Peru
(42)

12 toddlers (with average


age of 2.25 years) and 14
preschool children (with
average age of 4.93 years)
from 15 households from a
rural community, with at
least one child between 6
months and less than 5
years.

66

Longitudinal survey.
Qualitative recall of all
foods consumed inside and
outside home during the
previous 24-h period,
performed in April
(beginning of the cerealshortage season) and
September (end of the
cereal-shortage season),
used to calculate a dietary
diversity score for each
season.

Weighed Food Record:


each ingredient was
weighed before cooking,
and individuals portions of
cooked food were also
weighed (with plate waste
and leftovers weighed and
subtracted to the served
portions) by the observer.
Food intake was measured
during three time periods: in
the pre-harvest season
(November to January), in
the harvest season
(February to early May) and
in the post-harvest season
(late May to August).
Weighed Food Record:
each ingredient was
weighed before cooking,
and individuals portions of
cooked food were also
weighed (with plate waste
and leftovers weighed and
subtracted to the served
portions) by the observer.
Food intake was measured

In September more women consumed legumes


(peanuts, beans and bambara groundnuts), cows
milk and vegetables (mainly okra); although
tomatoes, cabbage and onions were less
consumed.
There were no differences in the frequency of
consumption of cereals and vitamin A-rich
vegetables between the seasons, but there were
differences in the type of cereals and leafy
vegetables consumed: maize was consumed only
in September and white sorghum and rice were
more consumed in April; baobab and mango were
more consumed in April.
Meat, poultry and fish were more consumed in
April, but fresh fish was more consumed in
September.
Fats and oils (especially peanut/ cotton oil) were
more consumed in April.
Dietary diversity scores (DDS) was highest in
September and there were differences in DDS
between socio-economic categories, which were
also less marked in September.

Longitudinal study.

Neither the frequency of


consumption nor the
amount of food consumed
was taken into
consideration.
Only women were included
in the study.

During the pre-harvest season (November to


January), poorer women consumed significantly
fewer calories than women in the wealthier group
(1269 Kcal/day versus 1785 Kcal/day), but during
the harvest season (February to early May) and
post-harvest season (late May to August) this
difference didnt continue.
Poorer households obtain their energy mostly from
local food in the harvest season, but needed to
purchase foods in the other season, especially in
the pre-harvest season. Wealthier households
experience less dramatic seasonal changes in
food resources over the year.

Observational study with


very small sample size.
Different number of people
observed at the three
different points of the
agricultural cycle.
Foods eaten outside home
and foods eaten when the
observer was not at home
were not included.

Caloric intakes were lowest during the postharvest season in all age groups, but among
children, and particularly among toddlers, were
most dramatic, where energy intakes in this
season fell below the predicted requirements,
especially among toddlers.

Observational study with


very small sample size.
Foods eaten outside home
and foods eaten when the
observer was not at home
were not included, with no
control of food eaten by
children between regular
meals.

Tetens et al
2003
Bangladesh
(43)

Kigutha et al.
1995
Kenya
(49)

1361 participants in lean


season and 1281
participants in the peak
season (1030 participants
in both seasons) from 304
rural households.

41 preschool children (22


girls and 19 boys) aged 1836 months.

during three time periods: in


the pre-harvest season
(November to January), in
the harvest season
(February to early May) and
in the post-harvest season
(late May to August).
24-h weighed food record:
each ingredient was
weighed before cooking,
and individuals portions of
cooked food were also
weighed (with leftovers
weighed and subtracted to
the served portions) by the
supervisor.
Food intake was measured
in two seasons: in the lean
season (October to
November) and in the peak
season (February to
March).
24-h dietary record
collected monthly, and 3day weighed food record
collected during the peak of
each season: June-July in
the lean season (MayOctober) and JanuaryFebruary in the postharvest season (NovemberApril).
In the weighed food record,
each ingredient was
weighed before cooking,
the whole dish was weighed
before the food was served
and childs portion was also
weighed (with leftovers
weighed and subtracted to
the served portions);
snacks and other foods
consumed outside the main
dish were also weighed,
and foods consumed
outside home or in the
absence of the assistant
were determined by recalls.

Seasonal fluctuations in energy intake varied


considerably in all age groups, with 20% higher
intake in the peak season rice post-harvest
season, but the proportion of energy from rice was
similar in both seasons (about 80%).
In both seasons, energy intake was consistently
lower in females than in males.

Significant differences in intake of calcium, vitamin


A, thiamin and riboflavin were observed between
the lean season and the post-harvest season.
There were not significant differences for energy,
protein, fat, iron, niacin and vitamin C between
seasons.

All households members


were included in the study.

Small sample size.


Limited accuracy of the
methods used by estimation
of portion sizes and nutritive
value.
Unavailability of appropriate
food composition data.

67

Abdullah and
Wheeler
1985
Bangladesh
(44)

53 rural households, with at


least one child less than 5
years.

Weighed food record: each


ingredient was weighed
before cooking, and
individuals portions of
cooked food were also
weighed (with leftovers
weighed and subtracted to
the served portions).
Food intake of each
member was measured for
3 consecutive days in 4
dietary rounds: March-April
(post-harvest season), June
(beginning of the monsoon
season), September (main
rice pre-harvest season)
and December (main rice
post-harvest season).

In adults, energy and protein intake in the first part


of the year is significantly greater than in the latter
part.
The women consistently consumed about 83% of
the mens energy intake, regardless of seasonal
fluctuations.
Girls consumed less food than boys, but their
share of food was significantly improved in the
main rice pre-harvest season.

* Only included the results, strengths and weaknesses relevant to the topic under investigation.

68

Intakes of snack foods were


elicited by daily
questionnaire.
Breast milk intake of infants
was not estimated.

CAPTULO 2
Variao sazonal da disponibilidade familiar de alimentos e bebidas
Portugal 2005/2006

69

70

RESUMO

Introduo: So vrios os estudos que tm encontrado em pases desenvolvidos


importantes variaes sazonais na disponibilidade e consumo de alimentos que por vezes
se refletem em variaes sazonais no estado nutricional, mas em Portugal desconhece-se
qualquer estudo com esta finalidade. Na ausncia de estudos de consumo individual
representativos da populao portuguesa, a informao proveniente dos Inquritos s
Despesas das Famlias (IDEF) fonte alternativa e fidedigna, possibilitando a monitorizao
de padres alimentares e a identificao de variaes sazonais na disponibilidade familiar
de alimentos.
Objetivos: Este artigo surge com o objetivo de investigar a disponibilidade familiar de
alimentos ao longo das quatro estaes do ano (sazonalidade), nomeadamente: descrever a
variao sazonal e identificar os grupos de alimentos onde esta mais relevante, e avaliar o
efeito das variveis sociodemogrficas na disponibilidade de alimentos e sua interaco com
as variaes sazonais.
Mtodos: Com recurso aos dados do IDEF 2005/2006 avaliaram-se 10403 famlias
distribudas de forma representativa pelas 4 estaes do ano. A recolha de dados junto de
cada famlia durou 2 semanas e constou do registo de todos os alimentos e bebidas
adquiridos no perodo. Os alimentos e bebidas foram agrupados e uniformizados de acordo
com a metodologia DAFNE, resultando uma diviso com 14 grupos principais. A
disponibilidade foi estimada a partir da diviso da disponibilidade diria de alimentos na
famlia pelo nmero de indivduos no agregado. Algumas variveis sociodemogrficas
contempladas no IDEF foram tambm consideradas na anlise (regio do pas, grau de
urbanizao do local da residncia, sexo, nvel de escolaridade completado e ocupao do
responsvel pelo agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado,
rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao e despesas totais e rcio
entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao). Recorreu-se
ANOVA para avaliar a variao sazonal nos grupos de alimentos, MANOVA para avaliar
os efeitos simultneos dos fatores sociodemogrficos na variao sazonal dos grupos de
alimentos e UNIANOVA para avaliar os efeitos simultneos dos fatores sociodemogrficos
na variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar em cada um dos subgrupos de alimentos. A
anlise considerou testes bilaterais e nvel de significncia de 0,05.

71

Resultados: Apenas os laticnios, gorduras e leos, e bebidas alcolicas no evidenciaram


diferenas significativas ao longo do ano. O outono destaca-se como a estao do ano em
que se encontraram mais grupos de alimentos com maior disponibilidade e a primavera
como a estao do ano em que se encontraram mais grupos de alimentos com a menor
disponibilidade, distinguindo-se uma clara variao na disponibilidade outono-inverno vs
primavera-vero:

leguminosas,

batatas,

cereais

produtos

cerealferos

ovos

apresentaram maior disponibilidade no outono-inverno, enquanto frutas, bebidas no


alcolicas e hortcolas apresentaram maior disponibilidade na primavera-vero. A magnitude
do efeito global da estao do ano nas diferenas encontradas pequena (2=0.024) e s o
grupo dos frutos secos e oleaginosos evidenciou uma magnitude de efeito mediana
(2=0.036). Tambm se verificou variao sazonal nos subgrupos que compunham os
grupos de alimentos que no apresentaram variaes sazonais significativas, notando-se
tambm variao na disponibilidade outono-inverno vs primavera-vero: manteiga,
margarina de culinria e vinho apresentaram maior disponibilidade no outono-inverno,
enquanto produtos lteos (que no o leite e queijo) e cerveja apresentaram maior
disponibilidade na primavera-vero, mas a magnitude do efeito da estao foi igualmente
pequena. As variveis sociodemogrficas foram responsveis por variao sazonal nos
grupos de alimentos com magnitude de efeito varivel, e as interaces das variveis com a
estao do ano foram responsveis por variaes sazonais, exceto a regio do pas,
embora com efeitos pequenos, diminuindo a magnitude do efeito isolado.
Concluses: Encontrou-se variao sazonal na disponibilidade da maioria dos grupos de
alimentos nas famlias portuguesas em 2005/2006. Verificou-se um gradiente de
disponibilidade primavera-vero vs outono-inverno em muitos dos grupos e subgrupos de
alimentos. Contudo, a magnitude das variaes sazonais foi pequena, excepto nos frutos
secos e oleaginosos e verificaram-se interaces das estaes do ano com as variveis
sociodemogrficas, exceto para a regio do pas, mas de magnitude pequena.

Palavras-chave:

Portugal, IDEF, estaes do ano, disponibilidade de alimentos,

disponibilidade de bebidas, determinantes sociodemogrficos.

72

ABSTRACT

Background: Several studies have found that in developed countries the availability and
consumption of foods show significant seasonal variations, often reflected in seasonal
variations in nutritional status, but in Portugal it is unknown any study for this purpose. In the
absence of studies on individual consumption representative of the Portuguese population,
the information from the Household Expenditure Surveys (IDEF) is an alternative and reliable
source, enabling the monitoring of dietary patterns and to identify seasonal variations in the
household food availability.
Aims: This paper aims the investigation of the Portuguese household food availability
throughout the four seasons of the year (seasonality), namely: describe the seasonal
variation and identify the food groups where it is most relevant, and evaluate the effect of
sociodemographic variables on household food availability and its interaction with seasonal
variations.
Methods: Using data from the IDEF 2005/2006 were evaluated 10 403 families distributed in
a representative manner for 4 seasons. The collection of data from each family lasted two
weeks and consisted of registering all food and beverages purchased in the period. Food
and beverages were grouped and standardized according to the DAFNE methodology,
resulting in 14 major groups. The individual availability was estimated by dividing the daily
household

availability

by

the

number

of

individuals

in

the

household.

Some

sociodemographic variables included in IDEF were considered in the analysis (countrys


region, degree of urbanization of the place of residence, gender, completed level of
education and occupation of the head of household, number of children, number of adults
and number of elderly in the household, income per capita, ratio between food expenditures
and total expenditure and ratio between expenditure on food away from home and food
expenses). ANOVA was used to evaluate the seasonal variation in the food groups,
MANOVA was used to evaluate the simultaneous effects of sociodemographic factors on the
seasonal variation of food groups and UNIANOVA was used to evaluate the simultaneous
effects of sociodemographic factors on the seasonal variation on the seasonal variation in
the subgroup of food. The analysis included two-tailed tests and a significance level of 0.05.
Results: Only dairy products, fats and oils, and alcoholic beverages did not show significant
differences throughout the year. Autumn was the season with more food groups with greater
availability, and spring was the season with more food groups with the lowest availability,
73

making possible distinguish a clear variation in the availability autumn-winter vs. springsummer: pulses, potatoes, cereals and cereal products and eggs showed greater availability
in autumn-winter, while fruits, vegetables and non-alcoholic beverages had higher availability
in spring-summer. The magnitude of the overall effect of season on the founded differences
was small (2 = 0.024) and only the nuts showed a medium effect size (2 = 0.036). It was
also found seasonal variation in subgroups that comprised the food groups that did not show
initial significant variations, also noting variation in the autumn-winter vs. spring-summer
availability: butter, cooking margarine, and wine had higher autumn-winter availability, while
dairy products (other than milk and cheese) and beer had higher spring-summer availability,
but the magnitude of the effect of season was also small. The sociodemographic variables
were responsible for seasonal variation in the food groups with variable magnitude effect,
and interactions of variables with the season were responsible for seasonal variations,
except the countrys region, albeit with small effects, decreasing the magnitude of the
isolated effect.
Conclusions: It was found seasonal variation in the Portuguese household food availability
of almost food groups in 2005/2006. A spring-summer vs. autumn-winter availability was
found in most food groups and subgroups. However, the magnitude of the seasonal variation
is small, except for nuts, and there were interactions of the seasons with sociodemographic
variables, with the exception of the countrys region, but of small magnitude.

Keywords: Portugal, IDEF, seasons, food availability, beverages availability, sociodemographic determinants.

74

INTRODUO
Se h alimentos facilmente identificados como sendo produzidos ou estando mais
disponveis para consumo de forma sazonal, (1,2) como as frutas e legumes, que esto
disponveis em maior quantidade e a preos mais acessveis em determinadas pocas do
ano, h outros alimentos que esto disponveis e so adquiridos para consumo de forma
diferente ao longo do ano, mas aos quais no atribudo o carcter de consumo sazonal.
(1-3)
A sazonalidade da produo agrcola ento diferente da sazonalidade no consumo,
por exemplo, as batatas tm uma produo sazonal evidente, mas so consumidas de
forma idntica ao longo do ano (3,4); por outro lado, a produo de flocos de cereais de
pequeno-almoo semelhante ao longo do ano, mas adquirida e consumida de forma
sazonal, (2) ou ainda a produo e o consumo apresentam picos sazonais diferentes, como
o caso dos frutos secos. (2,3)
Mas, nos ltimos anos, tem crescido a recomendao para preferir alimentos da
poca nas sociedades dos pases mais desenvolvidos, no s nos meios de divulgao
como revistas, programas de televiso ou internet, onde esta recomendao frequente, (510) mas tambm tem sido veiculada por entidades profissionais e oficiais ligadas sade,
(11-14) ou produo primria. (15)
O impacto que estas recomendaes possam ter no consumo de alimentos e estado
nutricional, a par de outros factores que concorram para as diferenas no consumo
alimentar ao longo do ano, desconhecido, pelo que necessria informao concreta e
mais detalhada sobre a sazonalidade dos hbitos alimentares quando se pretende avaliar
com rigor a exposio e risco associados ao consumo de alimentos pelos indivduos, no s
relativamente aos contaminantes e txicos, (16-18) mas tambm em relao ao contributo
da ingesto de energia e nutrientes na preveno da doena. (18,19)
So vrios os estudos que tm encontrado em pases desenvolvidos importantes
variaes sazonais no consumo de alimentos, (2,4,19-32) que por vezes se refletem em
variaes sazonais no estado nutricional. (19-23) Estas diferenas foram frequentemente
atribudas disponibilidade de alimentos proporcionada pelo calendrio de produo
agrcola e disponibilidade nos retalhistas que vendem alimentos, mas tambm a outros
factores, destacando-se os hbitos culturais como um dos mais importantes. (4,33-35)
Contudo, s alguns destes estudos tinham como objectivo avaliar diferenas
sazonais no consumo de alimentos, (2 4,19-27) e menos ainda os que destes tinham como
75

objectivo encontrar diferenas na variao sazonal em funo de caractersticas


sociodemogrficas, (4,22-27) mas os seus resultados realam a necessidade de conhecer a
variao que se pode encontrar no consumo de alimentos ao longo do ano, dada a
importncia que estas diferenas possam ter nos estudos epidemiolgicos.
Na realidade, um padro sazonal de aquisio e disponibilidade de alimentos pode
alterar avaliaes e inferncias sobre o consumo alimentar e consequente ingesto calrica
e nutricional, ou de txicos e outros produtos qumicos perigosos, se no for devidamente
considerada e controlada nos estudos sobre o consumo alimentar e disponibilidade de
alimentos. (17)
Hoje em dia aceite que nos pases desenvolvidos os alimentos disponveis em
casa resultam principalmente do comportamento de aquisio nos retalhistas que vendem
alimentos. (36-44) Obviamente, os recursos financeiros das famlias mais pobres limitam a
aquisio de alimentos, (40-45) que por vezes tm de priorizar o tipo de alimentos que vo
adquirir, (44-48) ou mesmo priorizar outras necessidades bsicas como as despesas com a
habitao ou aquecimento sobre a alimentao, (49,50) mas outros determinantes
sociodemogrficos, como o grau de urbanizao, (40) a educao/ escolaridade, (39-42) o
tamanho e composio da famlia, (41) ou mesmo a raa/ etnia, (39) parecem estar tambm
implicados.
No se conhecendo qualquer estudo que avalie o efeito da sazonalidade na
alimentao dos portugueses, recorrer-se- aos dados alimentares dos Inquritos s
Despesas das Famlias (IDEF) para uma primeira anlise deste assunto.
Apesar dos IDEF serem idealizados para fins econmicos, a informao deles
proveniente, atravs da anlise das aquisies de alimentos e bebidas efectuadas pelas
famlias, tida como fonte alternativa e fidedigna que permite a monitorizao de padres
alimentares. A informao obtida relativa disponibilidade de alimentos no domiclio,
posicionando-se num nvel intermdio entre a informao global das balanas alimentares e
os dados oriundos dos inquritos alimentares de base individual. (51-53)
Mesmo com o crescente nmero de refeies efetuadas fora de casa, (54,55) ainda
em casa que os membros da famlia dispem da maior parte dos alimentos e bebidas
disponveis para seu consumo, e so vrios os estudos que demonstram que a
disponibilidade de alimentos em casa se relaciona relativamente bem com o consumo
individual. (56,57)

76

Com a finalidade de recolher, harmonizar e desenvolver a forma mais eficaz de


analisar os dados sociodemogrficos e alimentares extrados dos IDEF, surgiu no continente
europeu a iniciativa Data Food Networking (DAFNE). (51,52,58)
Os IDEF so feitos pela maioria dos pases desenvolvidos e em desenvolvimento,
utilizam amostras de representatividade nacional e metodologias semelhantes, o que
permite fazer comparaes entre pases. (51,52,58,59) Mesmo no levando em
considerao o consumo de alimentos fora de casa e os alimentos no consumidos (ofertas,
alimentao de animais e desperdcios), as comparaes efetuadas entre a informao
recolhida e a informao dos estudos de consumo alimentar so razoavelmente
semelhantes e mais prximas da realidade do que as obtidas atravs das balanas
alimentares, (3 52,53,60-67) permitindo fazer estimativas de ingesto calrica e nutricional
bastante aproximada para a maioria dos nutrientes. (68)
Ao longo dos anos, os IDEF tm sido reconhecidos como um instrumento de
monitorizao das tendncias dos hbitos alimentares dentro e entre pases, (58,67-80)
permitindo a identificao dos subgrupos com hbitos alimentares de risco e das escolhas
alimentares que devem ser sujeitas a intervenes preventivas. (40,51 58,70-72,80-83)
Tm tambm o potencial de identificar alimentos e grupos de alimentos candidatos a
intervenes ao nvel de programas de fortificao nutricional e sua monitorizao, (84)
assim como o de avaliar a exposio a substncias qumicas indesejveis nos alimentos e
identificao de grupos de risco, (16,58,85) ou mesmo relacionar a disponibilidade de
alimentos e o estado nutricional e de sade. (61,86-89)
A disponibilidade de alimentos no seio familiar assim usada como um proxy do
consumo alimentar.
Este artigo surge com o objetivo de investigar a disponibilidade familiar de alimentos
ao longo das quatro estaes do ano (sazonalidade), recorrendo aos dados recolhidos no
IDEF realizado pelo Instituto Nacional de Estatstica (INE) em 2005-2006 (dados mais
recentes disponveis para o objectivo em estudo), nomeadamente:
1 descrever a variao sazonal, identificando os grupos de alimentos onde esta
mais relevante;
2 avaliar o efeito das variveis sociodemogrficas na disponibilidade de alimentos e
sua interaco com as variaes sazonais.

77

MTODOS
Sujeitos populao e amostra
O Universo do IDEF 2005/2006 corresponde populao residente em territrio
nacional (tanto considerada individualmente, como organizada em agregados domsticos
privados), excluindo os indivduos residentes em alojamentos colectivos. (90)
A Amostra do IDEF 2005/2006 foi selecionada de forma a representar a populao
portuguesa, num total de 16700 famlias, recolhendo informao sobre todos os indivduos
da famlia. O nmero de entrevistas completas foi de 10403 famlias, o que corresponde a
uma taxa de resposta de 62%. (90)
A representatividade sazonal da amostra condio essencial para avaliar a
disponibilidade familiar de alimentos que exibem padres de aquisio e disponibilidade
diferentes ao longo das estaes do ano, tendo sido distribuda da seguinte forma: 2593
(24,9%) famlias na primavera, 2366 (22,7%) famlias no vero, 2733 (26,3%) famlias no
outono e 2711 (26,1%) famlias no inverno.
Fonte e obteno de dados
No IDEF 2005/2006, os dados foram recolhidos entre Outubro de 2005 e Outubro de
2006, sendo cada famlia sujeita a observao direta durante uma quinzena, e distribudas
de forma uniforme pelas 26 quinzenas do perodo de inquirio. (90)
Os perodos de observao organizados em 4 trimestres correspondem com grande
aproximao s 4 estaes do ano referidas, mas dada a metodologia usada no desenho do
IDEF 2005/2006, no possvel que esta diviso tenha correspondncia exata com o incio
e fim de cada estao do ano (90) tabela 1.
TABELA 1: Correspondncia entre o trimestre de participao e a estao do ano
IDEF 2005/2006, Portugal

78

Trimestre

Estao do ano

10/10/2005 a 01/01/2006

Outono

02/01/2006 a 09/04/2006

Inverno

10/04/2006 a 02/07/2006

Primavera

03/07/2006 a 08/10/2006

Vero

A tcnica de recolha de dados baseada num dirio preenchido pelos membros da


famlia, onde so registados todos os rendimentos e gastos da famlia. Os alimentos
disponveis para consumo familiar (onde esto includos os alimentos comprados, obtidos
por auto-produo e as ofertas) foram registados em despesa e quantidade durante as 2
semanas de investigao. Alimentos desperdiados ou estragados, destinados a animais ou
para oferta, ou ainda adquiridos e consumidos fora de casa, no foram contabilizados. (90)
A partir da estrutura da despesa dos agregados familiares portugueses em bens e
servios (de acordo com a classificao COICOP Classification Of Individual
Consumption According to Purpose), (91) os alimentos e bebidas foram agrupados e
uniformizados de acordo com a metodologia DAFNE, resultando uma diviso com 14 grupos
principais. (51,92) Foi feita uma pequena alterao na classificao DAFNE original: os
sumos de fruta e hortcolas foram includos como subgrupo das bebidas no alcolicas, em
vez de constiturem um grupo independente. (62,73)
A disponibilidade mdia de alimentos por pessoa por dia (abreviada por
disponibilidade) foi estimada a partir da diviso da disponibilidade diria de alimentos na
famlia pelo nmero de indivduos no agregado, assumindo distribuio idntica pelos
membros da famlia, tendo este mtodo de estimao j sido utilizado por outros autores.
(51,62,72,73,88)
A incluso de caractersticas sociodemogrficas das famlias no IDEF permite
analisar os dados recolhidos em funo da regio do pas (Nomenclatura das Unidades
Territoriais para Fins Estatsticos nvel II NUTS II), grau de urbanizao do local da
residncia (rural, semi-urbano e urbano), sexo (feminino e masculino), nvel de escolaridade
completado (iletrado/ nenhum, bsico 4, 6 ou 9 anos, secundrio e superior) e ocupao
(empregado, reformado, desempregado e outros) do responsvel pelo agregado, n de
crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre
despesas com alimentao e despesas totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora
de casa e despesas com alimentao. (90)
Informaes e esclarecimentos adicionais relativos metodologia do IDEF
2005/2006 podero ser encontrados noutro documento. (90)
Anlise dos dados
Neste estudo foi utilizado o programa IBM SPSS Statistics verso 21 para
Windows.

79

Foi realizada uma anlise descritiva da variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar


de alimentos: inicialmente avaliou-se a variao sazonal nos 14 grupos de alimentos
contemplados e, posteriormente avaliou-se a variao sazonal dos subgrupos de alimentos
nos grupos onde no se encontrarem variaes sazonais significativas. A anlise considerou
testes bilaterais e nvel de significncia de 0,05.
Os dados foram comparados em quantidade absoluta (gramas ou mililitros), excepto
nos ovos, que foram comparados em unidade, apresentando-se a mdia da disponibilidade
familiar em cada estao do ano e respectivos intervalos de confiana a 95% (IC

95%).

Inicialmente, recorreu-se anlise da varincia (ANOVA) para avaliar a variao


sazonal de cada um dos grupos de alimentos sem ajustar as variveis sociodemogrficas.
A anlise da varincia multivariada (MANOVA), com recurso ao modelo linear geral
(GLM general linear model), foi aplicada para avaliar os efeitos simultneos dos fatores
sociodemogrficos na variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar dos 14 grupos de
alimentos, atravs da anlise da significncia (p) ajustada e no ajustada para as variveis
sociodemogrficas, e do eta quadrado parcial (2), quer do efeito isolado ajustado e no
ajustado para as variveis sociodemogrficas, quer do efeito das interaces destas
variveis com a estao do ano.
A anlise da varincia univariada (UNIANOVA) foi aplicada para avaliar os efeitos
simultneos dos fatores sociodemogrficos na variao sazonal na disponibilidade familiar
em cada subgrupo de alimentos, pertencentes aos grupos que no apresentaram diferenas
sazonais significativas na anlise multivariada. A anlise da significncia (p) e do eta
quadrado parcial (2) foi feita de modo semelhante ao da anlise dos grupos de alimentos.
Foram utilizadas as designaes propostas por Cohen (93) na avaliao da
magnitude do efeito apresentadas na tabela 2.
TABELA 2: Critrios na anlise quantitativa do tamanho do efeito segundo Cohen. (93)
Valores correspondentes
Tamanho do efeito

Teste de Cohen
f

Valores de eta
quadrado parcial
2

Pequeno

0,10

0,009

Mdio

0,25

0,058

Grande

0,40

0,137

NOTA: Foram usados como pontos de corte os valores de 0,035 e 0,100 para dividir as classificaes de 2 em pequeno, mdio e grande.

80

RESULTADOS
Variao sazonal na disponibilidade de alimentos
A mdia da disponibilidade para cada grupo de alimentos em cada estao do ano
est representada na tabela 3. Na anlise da varincia das mdias da disponibilidade dos 14
grupos de alimentos em cada estao do ano verificou-se que apenas os laticnios,
gorduras e leos, e bebidas alcolicas no evidenciaram diferenas significativas ao
longo do ano tabela 3.
TABELA 3: Disponibilidade de alimentos por estao do ano IDEF 2005/2006,
Portugal
Estao do ano
Anual

Primavera

Vero

Outono

Inverno

227
(221 233)
154
(147 161)
77,0
(73,5 80,4)
0,19
(0,18 0,20)
275
(266 285)
43,5
(40,7 46,3)
130
(122 137)
6,29
(5,54 7,03)
7,78
(6,7 8,87)
134
(129 139)
153
(147 159)
29,9
(27,3 32,4)
232
(220 244)
92,3
(84,6 100,1)

211
(205 216)
143
(137 149)
70,1
(67,0 73,2)
0,17
(0,16 0,18)
272
(262 282)
41,2
(38,5 43,8)
135
(127 144)
6,48
(5,69 7,27)
1,00
(0,82 1,17)
141
(135 146)
169
(162 175)
23,1
(21,7 24,5)
218
(206 229)
87,8
(78,4 97,3)

Mdia (IC 95%)

p a)

p b)

2 b)

<0,001*

0,024

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,012

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,004

0,007*

0,005*

0,001

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,005

0,940

0,548

<0,001

0,294

0,005*

0,001

0,034*

<0,001*

0,002

0,005*

<0,001*

0,002

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,036**

0,006*

0,254

<0,001

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,009

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,006

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,004

0,604

0,212

<0,001

Efeito global
Cereais e p. cerealferos (g)
Carne e p. crneos (g)
Peixe e marisco (g)
Ovos (em pea)
Laticnios (g)
Gorduras e leos (g)
Batatas (g)
Leguminosas (g)
Frutos secos oleaginosos (g)
Hortcolas (g)
Frutas (g)
Acar e p. aucarados (g)
Bebidas no alcolicas (ml)
Bebidas alcolicas (ml)

210
(208 213)
144
(141 147)
75,1
(73,4 76,8)
0,17
(0,16 0,17)
274
(270 279)
41,4
(40,1 42,7)
128
(123 132)
5,72
(5,35 6,09)
2,79
(2,48 3,09)
142
(139 145)
177
(173 180)
24,2
(23,3 25,1)
245
(239 252)
88,6
(84,7 92,5)

203
(198 208)
137
(132 141)
75,7
(72,3 79,1)
0,16
(0,15 0,17)
276
(266 286)
40,6
(38,2 43,0)
117
(110 124)
4,96
(4,33 5,58)
0,91
(0,72 1,10)
147
(141 153)
185
(178 192)
22,1
(20,7 23,5)
257
(243 271)
84,9
(77,5 92,2)

200
(195 205)
142
(137 148)
77,6
(74,3 81,0)
0,15
(0,14 0,16)
274
(265 283)
40,3
(38,0 42,6)
128
(118 139)
5,14
(4,37 5,91)
1,29
(0,91 1,67)
146
(139 152)
201
(193 210)
21,6
(19,9 23.2)
276
(262 291)
89,3
(83,0 95,6)

* p<0,05
** 2>0,035
a)

Valor no ajustado (ANOVA)

b)

Valor ajustado (GLM multivariado) para as variveis regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo, ocupao e nvel de escolaridade do responsvel pelo
agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao, despesas
totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao e disponibilidade dos restantes grupos de alimentos.

Nos grupos de alimentos com variaes sazonais significativas, o outono destaca-se


como a estao do ano em que se encontraram mais grupos de alimentos com maior
disponibilidade; j a primavera foi a estao do ano em que apenas os hortcolas

81

apresentaram maior disponibilidade e foi tambm a estao do ano onde mais grupos de
alimentos apresentam a menor disponibilidade.
Dos grupos de alimentos que evidenciaram variao sazonal significativa, o grupo
dos frutos secos e oleaginosos apresentou uma disponibilidade muito superior no outono
comparativamente s restantes estaes do ano; esta discrepncia de valores, quer em
relao variao relativa nas outras estaes do ano, quer em relao variao relativa
de outros grupos de alimentos, teve como consequncia a necessidade de retirar este grupo
de alimentos, quando se pretendeu avaliar a magnitude relativa entre a disponibilidade dos
grupos de alimentos nas famlias em cada estao do ano figura 1.

Negrito: mdia anual (100%)

FIGURA 1: Variao sazonal (em % da mdia anual) na disponibilidade por grupos de


alimentos IDEF 2005/2006, Portugal

Independentemente de se verificar maior disponibilidade de um grupo de alimentos


apenas numa das estaes do ano, foi possvel verificar a existncia de uma clara variao
primavera-vero vs outono-inverno em alguns dos grupos de alimentos (figura 1), como nas
frutas e bebidas no alcolicas que apresentaram maior disponibilidade na primaveravero, e nas leguminosas que apresentaram maior disponibilidade no outono-inverno.
Esta variao foi igualmente perceptvel noutros grupos de alimentos, como nos hortcolas,
que apresentaram maior disponibilidade na primavera-vero, e nos grupos das batatas,
cereais e produtos cerealferos e ovos, que apresentaram maior disponibilidade no
outono-inverno.
82

Efeito das variveis sociodemogrficas na variao sazonal da disponibilidade de


alimentos
Ao investigar o efeito das estaes do ano depois de ajustar para as variveis
sociodemogrficas, o grupo das gorduras e leos passou a evidenciar variao sazonal,
enquanto o grupo dos hortcolas deixou de evidenciar variao sazonal, mantendo-se a
variao sazonal nos restantes grupos tabela 3.
Globalmente, a magnitude do efeito da estao do ano nas diferenas encontradas
pequena (2=0.024); s o grupo dos frutos secos e oleaginosos evidenciou uma magnitude
de efeito mediana da estao do ano nas diferenas sazonais encontradas (2=0.036), pois
nos restantes grupos de alimentos, o efeito da estao do ano foi pequeno tabela 3.
Quando

se

considerou

tambm

efeito

das

interaes

das

variveis

sociodemogrficas com a estao do ano na disponibilidade de alimentos, verificou-se que


apesar de existirem variaes sazonais significativas em todas as variveis analisadas, h
interaces entre estas e as estaes do ano, diminuindo consequentemente a magnitude
do efeito isolado da estao do ano na disponibilidade tabela 4.
J a magnitude do efeito isolado das variveis sociodemogrficas na disponibilidade
de alimentos foi distinto, apresentando-se pequena para a regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo
e escolaridade do responsvel pelo agregado, e n de adultos e de idosos no agregado, ou
seja, estas caractersticas sociodemogrficas contribuem pouco para as diferenas
encontradas na disponibilidade de alimentos. O n de crianas no agregado e rendimento
per capita apresentaram um efeito mdio, indicativos de um maior contributo destas
variveis na disponibilidade de alimentos nas estaes do ano, enquanto as variveis rcio
despesas com alimentao / despesas totais do agregado e rcio despesas com
alimentao fora de casa / despesas com alimentao do agregado apresentaram um efeito
elevado, sendo por isso as que mais contribuem isoladamente para as diferenas
encontradas na disponibilidade familiar de alimentos tabela 4.
Por outro lado, e exceptuando a interaco da estao do ano com a regio (NUTS
II), tambm as interaces das estaes do ano com as restantes variveis
sociodemogrficas se apresentam significativas, ou seja, h diferenas na variao sazonal
na disponibilidade de alimentos entre as categorias consideradas em cada varivel
sociodemogrfica, enquanto qualquer que seja a regio (NUTS II) considerada, a variao
sazonal na disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias semelhante. No entanto, todas as
interaces das variveis sociodemogrficas com a estao do ano apresentam magnitude
de variao pequena tabela 4.
83

TABELA 4: Efeito das variveis sociodemogrficas na variao sazonal da


disponibilidade de alimentos IDEF 2005/2006, Portugal
Efeito isolado a)
p

Efeito da interaco
com a estao do
ano a)
p

Estao do ano

<0,001*

0,003

Regio (NUTS II)

<0,001*

0,009

0,090

0,002

Localidade

<0,001*

0,020

<0,001*

0,003

Sexo

<0,001*

0,011

0,001*

0,003

Escolaridade

<0,001*

0,01

<0,001*

0,004

Ocupao

<0,001*

0,005

<0,001*

0,003

N crianas no agregado

<0,001*

0,073**

<0,001*

0,004

N de adultos no agregado

<0,001*

0,019

0,002*

0,003

N de idosos no agregado

<0,001*

0,017

<0,001*

0,003

Rendimento per capita

<0,001*

0,090**

<0,001*

0,009

<0,001*

0,203***

<0,001*

0,005

<0,001*

0,275***

<0,001*

0,005

Rcio despesas com alimentao


/ despesas totais do agregado
Rcio despesas com alimentao fora casa
/ despesas com alimentao do agregado
* p < 0,005
** 2>0,035
*** 2>0,100
a)

Valor ajustado (GLM multivariado) para as variveis regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo, ocupao e nvel de escolaridade do responsvel pelo
agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao, despesas
totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao e disponibilidade dos restantes grupos de alimentos.

Variao sazonal nos subgrupos de alimentos


Na investigao da variao sazonal dos subgrupos que compunham os grupos de
alimentos que no apresentaram variaes sazonais significativas, verificou-se que tambm
existiam diferenas sazonais na disponibilidade de alguns destes.
Na disponibilidade dos diferentes alimentos lteos tabela 5, foi possvel verificar
que s o leite manteve uma disponibilidade semelhante ao longo do ano. O queijo e os
outros produtos lcteos, onde esto includos os iogurtes e gelados, apresentaram
variao sazonal significativa, destacando-se a maior disponibilidade de queijo no inverno
em relao s restantes estaes do ano, e a clara distino entre maior disponibilidade nas
famlias na primavera-vero dos outros produtos lteos, em relao ao outono-inverno. No
entanto, a magnitude da variao sazonal foi pequena tabela 5.

84

TABELA 5: Disponibilidade de lacticnios por estao do ano IDEF 2005/2006,


Portugal
Estao do ano
Anual

Primavera

Vero

Outono

Inverno

222
(214 232)
16,3
(15,5 17,1)
36,5
(34,7 38,3)

216
(207 225)
18,0
(17,1 18,9)
37,8
(36,1 39,6)

Mdia (IC 95%)


Leite (g)
Queijo (g)
Outros produtos lteos (g)

217
(212 221)
16,9
(16,5 17,3)
40,9
(40,0 41,9)

218
(208 227)
16,6
(15,7 17,4)
42,2
(40,2 44,2)

210
(202 218)
16,7
(15,9 17,5)
47,4
(45,3 49,4)

p a)

p b)

2 b)

<0,277

0,102

0,001

0,030*

<0,001*

0,002

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,013

* p<0,05
a)

Valor no ajustado (ANOVA)

b)

Valor ajustado (GLM univariado) para as variveis regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo, ocupao e nvel de escolaridade do responsvel pelo
agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao, despesas
totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao e disponibilidade dos restantes grupos de alimentos.

Na anlise da disponibilidade das diferentes gorduras e leos tabela 6, destaca-se


a ausncia de variao sazonal no azeite. Tambm os cremes vegetais para barrar e as
outras gorduras animais (que no a manteiga) no evidenciaram variao sazonal na
disponibilidade, embora os valores de disponibilidade fossem baixos ao longo do ano.
TABELA 6: Disponibilidade de gorduras e leos por estao do ano IDEF
2005/2006, Portugal
Estao do ano
Anual

Primavera

Vero

Outono

Inverno

2,70
(2,50 2,91)
0,24
(0,13 0,34)
1,89
(1,66 2,12)
1,71
(1,52 1,91)
17,3
(15,0 19,6)
23,7
(22,0 25,4)

2,78
(2,57 3,00)
0,13
(0,08 0,18)
1,87
(1,63 2,12)
2,04
(1,83 2,24)
17,4
(15,0 19,8)
20,8
(19,3 22,2)

Mdia (IC 95%)


Manteiga (g)
Outras gorduras animais (g)
Margarina de culinria (g)
Cremes vegetais p/ barrar (g)
Azeite (g)
Outros leos (g)

2,54
(2,44 2,64)
0,17
(0,13 0,21)
1,68
(1,57 1,79)
1,93
(1,83 2,04)
17,0
(16,0 18,1)
21,9
(21,1 22,7)

2,35
(2,16 2,54)
0,14
(0,06 0,23)
1,32
(1,12 1,51)
1,95
(1,74 2,17)
18,1
(16,2 20,0)
20,6
(19,0 22,2)

2,31
(2,12 2,49)
0,16
(0,11 0,22)
1,63
(1,40 1,87)
2,04
(1,81 2,26)
15,3
(13,8 16,8)
22,6
(21,0 24,2)

p a)

p b)

2 b)

0,001*

<0,001*

0,002

0,236

0,181

<0,001

0,001*

0,002*

0,002

0,101

0,038*

0,001

0,268

0,023*

0,001

0,014*

0,035*

0,001

* p<0,05
a)

Valor no ajustado (ANOVA)

b)

Valor ajustado (GLM univariado) para as variveis regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo, ocupao e nvel de escolaridade do responsvel pelo
agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao, despesas
totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao e disponibilidade dos restantes grupos de alimentos.

Por outro lado, a disponibilidade de outros leos (que no o azeite) apresentou


variao sazonal, encontrando-se a maior disponibilidade no outono. J a manteiga e a
margarina de culinria apresentaram variao sazonal, com uma clara variao primavera-

85

vero em relao ao outono-inverno, sendo a disponibilidade nas famlias maior nestas


ltimas; no entanto, a disponibilidade destas gorduras foi baixa ao longo de todo o ano.
Na investigao do efeito das estaes do ano depois de ajustar para as variveis
sociodemogrficas, o azeite e os cremes vegetais de barrar passaram a evidenciar
variao sazonal. Tambm neste subgrupo, a magnitude da variao sazonal foi pequena
tabela 6.
No grupo das bebidas alcolicas, onde inicialmente no se tinha verificado variao
sazonal, encontraram-se variaes sazonais em todos os subgrupos tabela 7.
TABELA 7: Disponibilidade de bebidas alcolicas por estao do ano IDEF
2005/2006, Portugal
Estao do ano
Anual

Primavera

Vero

Outono

Inverno

66,6
(59,7 73,4)
18,6
(16,0 21,3)
7,14
(6,19 8,10)

68,2
(59,3 77,2)
17,6
(15,1 20,1)
2,02
(1,63 2,41)

Mdia (IC 95%)


Vinho (ml)
Cerveja (ml)
Bebidas espirituosas (ml)

61,6
(58,2 65,0)
23,4
(21,8 25,0)
3,65
(3,33 3,98)

54,3
(48,5 60,0)
27,9
(23,6 32,1)
2,73
(2,20 3,26)

57,0
(51,9 62,1)
29,7
(26,4 32,9)
2,60
(2,10 3,11)

p a)

p b)

2 b)

0,008*

<0,001*

0,002

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,005

<0,001*

<0,001*

0,013

* p<0,05
a)

Valor no ajustado (ANOVA)

b)

Valor ajustado (GLM univariado) para as variveis regio (NUTS II), localidade, sexo, ocupao e nvel de escolaridade do responsvel pelo
agregado, n de crianas, n de adultos e n de idosos no agregado, rendimento per capita, rcio entre despesas com alimentao, despesas
totais e rcio entre despesas com alimentao fora de casa e despesas com alimentao e disponibilidade dos restantes grupos de alimentos.

Com excepo das bebidas espirituosas, cuja disponibilidade foi muito superior no
outono em relao s demais estaes do ano, nas restantes bebidas alcolicas notou-se
uma clara distino entre disponibilidade na primavera-vero vs outono-inverno: a
disponibilidade de cerveja foi maior na primavera-vero, enquanto a disponibilidade de
vinho foi maior no outono-inverno. Mais uma vez, a magnitude da variao sazonal foi
pequena tabela 7.

DISCUSSO
O recurso aos IDEF j prtica comum em vrios pases como instrumento de
recolha de informao para avaliar a disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias. (59,69-71,
73,74)

86

Uma vez que incluem recolha de dados com a mesma representatividade da

populao em todas as estaes do ano (51,94) permitem investigar alteraes na


disponibilidade de alimentos pelas famlias ao longo do ano.
No entanto, desconhecem-se estudos publicados com referncia a alteraes
sazonais na disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias em pases desenvolvidos, e apenas
se conhece um artigo publicado com o objectivo de avaliar a sazonalidade na
disponibilidade de alimentos com recurso ao IDEF, (95) mas como a avaliao foi feita em
Moambique - um pas pobre e pouco desenvolvido, verificam-se marcadas diferenas nos
hbitos

alimentares,

relaes

comerciais,

dependncia

agrcola

caractersticas

sociodemogrficas em relao aos pases mais desenvolvidos, (95) sendo os resultados


obtidos de difcil comparao.
Como este estudo objetivou a anlise da variao sazonal na disponibilidade de
alimentos para consumo familiar em Portugal no ano de 2005/2006, e no existindo estudos
realizados em pases desenvolvidos com recurso aos IDEF, os resultados desta anlise
foram comparados com os resultados publicados de estudos que recorreram a outras fontes
de informao, nomeadamente aos inquritos individuais de avaliao do consumo
alimentar.
Neste estudo, e dado o nmero elevado de famlias na amostra, foi possvel detetar
diferenas significativas na disponibilidade ao longo do ano na maioria dos grupos de
alimentos considerados, onde apenas os grupos dos lacticnios, gorduras e leos e
bebidas alcolicas no evidenciaram variao sazonal significativa. No entanto,
decompostos estes grupos de alimentos, foi possvel encontrar variaes sazonais em
alguns dos seus subgrupos.
Prasad e colaboradores tambm no encontraram variao sazonal no consumo de
laticnios (e ovos) e gorduras e leos, em grvidas finlandesas, onde o consumo de bebidas
alcolicas no foi avaliado (4); Capita e Alonso-Calleja tambm no encontraram em adultos
espanhis grandes variaes no consumo de laticnios entre o vero e inverno, mas j
encontraram variaes sazonais no consumo de leos e gorduras e de bebidas alcolicas,
embora com diferenas em ambos os sexos quanto estao em que foram mais ou menos
consumidos. (26)
Nos grupos de alimentos em que foi detetada variao sazonal encontrou-se clara
distino no gradiente de disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias entre a primavera-vero
vs outono-inverno em muitos deles: enquanto os grupos das frutas, hortcolas e bebidas
no alcolicas evidenciaram uma maior disponibilidade na primavera-vero, os grupos das

87

leguminosas, batatas, cereais e produtos cerealferos e ovos, mostraram uma maior


disponibilidade no outono-inverno.
Na anlise das compras em supermercados recolhidas num estudo-piloto efectuado
por Mhurchu e colaboradores na Nova Zelndia, verificou-se maior aquisio de hortcolas e
frutas no vero em relao ao inverno. (96)
J na anlise do consumo de alimentos, o consumo mais elevado de hortcolas no
vero em relao ao inverno tambm foi encontrado por Prasad e colaboradores em
grvidas finlandesas; por outro lado, o consumo de frutas mostrou um consumo inferior no
vero, apesar das diferenas encontradas na variedade de fruta considerada. (4) Giles e
colaboradores tambm atriburam ao maior consumo de hortcolas em saladas e frutas no
vero, algumas das variaes sazonais que encontraram na ingesto de vitaminas e
minerais. (31)
Num outro estudo, Schtzer e colaboradores verificaram que adultos austracos
consumiam menos frequentemente hortcolas no inverno em relao ao vero, mas o
mesmo j no se verificou na frequncia do consumo de frutas entre as duas estaes. (24)
A frequncia do consumo de fruta tambm foi referida pela maioria dos indivduos como
sendo semelhante no vero e inverno num estudo feito por Cox e colaboradores no Reino
Unido, embora neste estudo a maioria dos indivduos tambm referisse menor frequncia de
consumo de saladas no inverno. (22)
Em Espanha, Capita e Allonso-Calleja verificaram que o consumo de frutas por
adultos tambm foi maior no vero em relao ao inverno em ambos os sexos mas,
enquanto se verificou tambm maior consumo de hortcolas no vero nas mulheres, nos
homens verificou-se maior consumo de hortcolas no inverno. (26)
Resultados um pouco diferentes foram

encontrados no Japo: Fahey e

colaboradores encontraram menor ingesto de carotenos e vitamina C no inverno, atribuda


ao menor consumo de hortcolas e frutas ricas nestes nutrientes nesta estao (30); j Inoue
e colaboradores verificaram que a proporo de consumo de frutas e hortcolas tambm foi
maior no inverno em pacientes livres de cancro aps alta hospitalar, mas apenas em
mulheres. (28)
Outros autores tambm encontraram diferenas no consumo de hortcolas e frutas,
mas como foi investigado o consumo especfico e muito limitado de alimentos no vivel a
comparao da variao do consumo destes com a variao do consumo enquanto grupo
de alimentos, pois a heterogeneidade enquanto grupo elevada. (2,23,27) Mesmo assim,
88

Fowke e colaboradores verificaram maior consumo de hortcolas e menor consumo de frutas


no inverno, comparativamente ao consumo destes no vero, em mulheres adultas, (19)
enquanto Ziegler e colaboradores verificaram que o consumo de hortcolas e frutas ricas em
carotenos era inferior no outono-inverno, em relao ao consumo na primavera-vero, em
homens adultos. (23)
As razes so vrias, mas a maior e mais variada disponibilidade de hortcolas e
frutas, habitualmente em estreita relao com a maior disponibilidade agrcola e/ou
necessidades de importao, podero ser uma das explicaes encontradas para estas
diferenas. (2,4,25)
Relativamente ao maior consumo de alimentos no outono-inverno por comparao
com a maior disponibilidade dos grupos de alimentos encontrados neste estudo, apenas um
estudo publicado incluiu o consumo sazonal de leguminosas, onde se verificou um maior
consumo de leguminosas no inverno apenas em mulheres espanholas, pois o consumo de
leguminosas por homens espanhis foi maior no vero. (26)
Tambm a referncia ao consumo de batatas foi escasso, mas quando includo,
encontrou-se uma tendncia de maior consumo no vero em adultos canadianos (2) ou no
se encontrou variao sazonal no consumo de batatas, embora o consumo de razes e
tubrculos tenha sido maior no outono-inverno, como constatado em grvidas finlandesas.
(4)
Relativamente ao consumo de cereais, Prasad e colaboradores encontraram um
ligeiro aumento no outono, em grvidas finlandesas, (4) enquanto Capita e Alonso-Calleja
encontraram maior consumo de cereais no inverno, mas apenas em homens espanhis.
(26)
O consumo de ovos tambm foi abordado em poucos estudos e, apesar de Joachim
ter encontrado um maior consumo de ovos no vero em adultos canadianos, (2) Shahar e
colaboradores encontraram maior consumo de ovos no inverno, especialmente de ovos
cozidos, em trabalhadores industriais israelitas do sexo masculino, (20,21) assim como
Capita e Alonso-Calleja em Espanha, mas em adultos de ambos os sexos. (26)
No presente estudo, outros grupos de alimentos mostraram variao sazonal
essencialmente devido maior disponibilidade numa das estaes, em relao
disponibilidade mdia ao longo do ano e/ou nas restantes estaes do ano, sendo o caso
dos frutos secos oleaginosos e acar e produtos aucarados, que mostraram maior
disponibilidade no outono.
89

No se encontraram quaisquer referncias variao sazonal no consumo dos frutos


secos oleaginosos, embora a maior disponibilidade destes alimentos nas famlias
portuguesas no outono se deva essencialmente maior aquisio anterior s festividades
do Natal e Ano Novo, onde o consumo destes alimentos est culturalmente enraizado nos
hbitos alimentares.
A maior disponibilidade de acar e produtos aucarados no outono tambm
poder estar associada comemorao das festividades do Natal e Ano Novo, pois
juntamente com os ovos e leos (que tambm apresentaram maior disponibilidade nesta
estao) so ingredientes comuns na doaria tradicional portuguesa para esta poca do
ano, assim como os frutos secos oleaginosos. O maior consumo de acar nas estaes
mais frias tambm foi encontrado por Capita e Alonso-Calleja em adultos espanhis, (26)
enquanto Prasad e colaboradores verificaram um consumo de produtos aucarados
semelhante ao longo do ano nas grvidas finlandesas. (4)
Outros dois grupos de alimentos mostraram variao sazonal a disponibilidade de
carne e produtos crneos, e a disponibilidade de peixe e marisco. A disponibilidade de
carne foi maior no outono e inferior na primavera, no sendo claros os motivos de tal
variao na populao portuguesa. Ao contrrio destes resultados, o consumo de carne no
apresentou variaes sazonais em grvidas finlandesas, (4) ou foi mais elevado no inverno
em mulheres adultas chinesas (19) ou homens trabalhadores industriais israelitas, (20,21)
ou mais elevado no vero em adultos espanhis. (26)
A disponibilidade de peixe e marisco foi inferior no inverno, apesar da relativa
ausncia de variaes sazonais nas restantes estaes do ano. A elevada preferncia da
populao portuguesa por peixe fresco e as condies de pesca adversas que se encontram
no inverno podero ser a explicao para a menor disponibilidade familiar destes alimentos,
pois a disponibilidade nos retalhistas que vendem alimentos tambm inferior e os preos
tendencialmente mais elevados. (97,98) J na Finlndia, o consumo de peixe por grvidas
no mostrou variao sazonal (4) ou, pelo contrrio, foi menos consumido na primaveravero, como encontrado em adultos espanhis (26) ou mulheres adultas chinesas. (19)
Curiosamente, a estao do ano onde mais frequentemente se verificou a maior
disponibilidade nos diferentes grupos de alimentos foi no outono, coincidindo com maiores
reservas resultantes da produo agrcola em Portugal, e a primavera foi a estao do ano
onde mais frequentemente se verificou a menor disponibilidade nos diferentes grupos de
alimentos, coincidindo com o principal perodo das sementeiras na produo agrcola.
(99,100)
90

A ausncia de variao sazonal na disponibilidade de alimentos que foi encontrada


neste estudo nem sempre reflectia a real ausncia de variao sazonal, pois nos 3 grupos
de alimentos onde a variao sazonal no foi significativa, encontraram-se importantes
variaes sazonais nos seus subgrupos.
No grupo dos lacticnios, apenas a disponibilidade de leite foi semelhante ao longo
do ano, enquanto a maior disponibilidade de queijo encontrada no inverno poder reflectir,
de certo modo, a maior produo deste nesta poca do ano. Este resultado est em
concordncia com o maior consumo de queijo no inverno encontrado em homens
trabalhadores israelitas por Shahar e colaboradores, embora a diferena no tenha atingido
a significncia desejada. (20,21)
Por outro lado, e considerando que nos outros produtos lteos esto includos os
iogurtes e gelados, a maior disponibilidade destes alimentos na primavera-vero pode estar
relacionada com o fato de serem alimentos consumidos frios, e por isso mais apetecveis
nos meses mais quentes. Embora no haja referncia ao consumo de iogurtes, o consumo
de gelados apresentado em alguns estudos, e apenas no se verificou variao sazonal
em adultos canadianos, (2) pois verificou-se maior consumo no vero quer em grvidas
filandesas, (4) quer em adultos americanos. (27)
No grupo das gorduras e leos a disponibilidade de margarina de culinria e de
manteiga mostraram variao sazonal, enquanto as outras gorduras animais que no
manteiga (como a banha) e os cremes vegetais para barrar no, mas a disponibilidade
destes alimentos mostrou-se muito baixa por comparao com os leos vegetais, carecendo
de importncia na ausncia de sazonalidade verificada no grupo. Apenas os outros leos
que no o azeite apresentou variao sazonal com importncia relativamente quantidade
disponvel nas famlias, mas no foi suficiente para contribuir para diferenas no grupo ao
longo do ano, pois no se verificaram variaes sazonais na disponibilidade de azeite, o
que poder estar relacionado com a importncia que este alimento tem na alimentao dos
portugueses, permanecendo como uma caracterstica comum dieta mediterrnica.
(101,102)
Por fim, e apesar da ausncia de variao sazonal enquanto grupo heterogneo que
inclui todas as bebidas alcolicas, verificou-se variao sazonal na disponibilidade dos
principais tipos de bebidas alcolicas, destacando-se a maior disponibilidade de vinho no
outono-inverno em relao primavera-vero, e exactamente o oposto na disponibilidade da
cerveja, que sendo uma bebida mais refrescante, apresenta maior disponibilidade na
primavera-vero. Tambm Subar e colaboradores verificaram maior proporo de adultos
91

americanos consumidores de vinho no inverno, (27) mas no se encontraram mais


referncias ao consumo de outras bebidas alcolicas.
As bebidas espirituosas tambm apresentaram variao sazonal, mas nestas
bebidas a disponibilidade foi muito superior no outono em relao disponibilidade mdia
no ano ou nas restantes estaes. Mais uma vez, plausvel que a maior disponibilidade
destas bebidas nas famlias portuguesas se deva maior aquisio anterior s festividades
do Natal e Ano Novo, onde o consumo est culturalmente presente nos hbitos alimentares
desta poca (como o vinho do Porto ou vinho espumante), assim como no hbito de
presentear com este tipo de bebidas.
Num estudo publicado recentemente que recorreu aos IDEF, ficou demonstrado que
vrias variveis sociodemogrficas explicavam diferenas na qualidade da dieta, como o
rendimento, sexo, nvel de escolaridade, idade, regio, tipologia da composio da famlia,
situao profissional ou trimestre de participao. (81) Neste estudo a sazonalidade no se
mostrou significativa para a qualidade da dieta, excepto na Finlndia, onde a qualidade da
dieta foi inferior no 4 trimestre (coincidindo aproximadamente ao outono). (81)
No presente estudo verificou-se que todas as caractersticas sociodemogrficas
consideradas mostraram influenciar as variaes sazonais na disponibilidade familiar de
alimentos. Esta observao foi tambm comum nos estudos de consumo alimentar onde
variveis sociodemogrficas foram controladas ou investigadas, embora nem todas as
variveis aqui consideradas tivessem sido investigadas. Por exemplo, a localizao da
habitao familiar (rural ou urbana), (25,95) e o sexo (22,26-28) foram responsveis por
alteraes na variao sazonal do consumo de alimentos.
Algumas destas variveis tambm foram responsveis por variaes sazonais ao
nvel da ingesto energtica e de nutrientes, decorrente das alteraes no consumo de
alimentos ao longo do ano e, mais uma vez, o sexo foi responsvel por diferentes variaes
sazonais, (103-105) mas tambm a idade, (103,104) a etnia (104) ou a escolaridade. (104)
A compra de alimentos nas vias comerciais tradicionais o modo de obteno de
alimentos predominante nos pases desenvolvidos, sendo que antecede a disponibilidade e
o consumo de alimentos nas famlias, (39) e so vrios os estudos que demonstram que a
aquisio de alimentos sensvel s caractersticas sociodemogrficas das famlias.
(40,41,106,107)
A aquisio de alimentos tipo ingredientes maior nos grupos etrios mais
elevados e menor nos mais jovens, apresentando os mais velhos maior sensibilidade
92

variao sazonal; pelo contrrio, a despesa com refeies efetuadas fora de casa maior
nos mais jovens e menor nos mais velhos. (67) De certo modo, a diminuio do poder de
compra est relacionado com a aquisio de alimentos tipo ingredientes para preparar em
casa, e o aumento do poder de compra com a realizao de refeies fora de casa,
aquisio de refeies pr-preparadas ou prontas a consumir. (67,108)
Neste estudo, a existncia de diferenas sazonais significativas no grupo das
gorduras e leos, quando controladas as variveis sociodemogrficas, indicia que as
diferenas sociodemogrficas mascaram a disponibilidade de gorduras e leos nas
estaes do ano, isto , nas famlias que renem caractersticas sociodemogrficas
semelhantes existem variaes sazonais na disponibilidade de gorduras e leos, pelo que
a disponibilidade destes alimentos nas famlias influenciada pela estao do ano. Na
avaliao da sazonalidade dos subgrupos de alimentos, no se verificaram variaes
significativas na disponibilidade do azeite e dos cremes vegetais para barrar, mas ao serem
controladas as variveis sociodemogrficas, j se encontraram diferenas sazonais
significativas, reflectindo diferente disponibilidade ao longo do ano nas famlias que renem
caractersticas semelhantes.
Por outro lado, a perda da variao sazonal no grupo dos hortcolas depois de
controladas as variveis sociodemogrficas, indicia que, apesar de existirem diferenas na
disponibilidade de hortcolas nas diferentes estaes do ano nas famlias em geral, no h
diferenas sazonais na disponibilidade de hortcolas nas famlias que renem
caractersticas sociodemogrficas semelhantes, levando a crer que a disponibilidade de
hortcolas tambm influenciada por outras variveis que no a estao do ano.
A sazonalidade na alimentao fica a dever-se a condies associadas natureza
dos alimentos, em estreita relao com a produo agrcola e importao, que condicionam
a sua disponibilidade para venda. Por sua vez, condies comerciais determinadas
principalmente pelo preo, mas tambm marketing promocional ou capacidade logstica dos
retalhistas podem modular a preferncia dos consumidores por determinados alimentos em
diferentes pocas do ano. As variaes so esperadas para alimentos como frutas e
hortcolas, e prendem-se com o mais baixo preo e maior disponibilidade nos mercados
para venda dos alimentos produzidos na poca.
Mas os consumidores, atravs das suas preferncias, conhecimentos, expectativas e
hbitos culturais, podem dispor dos alimentos de forma diferente ao longo do ano, o que
tambm se vai traduzir em variaes sazonais na disponibilidade e consumo de alimentos,
de forma independente da sua produo.
93

Utilidade e implicaes
Identificar alimentos de consumo sazonal na populao e fatores sociodemogrficos
responsveis pelas diferenas encontradas de principal importncia nos estudos de
consumo de alimentos, para que se consiga uma metodologia correta de avaliao:
alimentos regularmente consumidos tm a propriedade de adquirir um significado de
consumo habitual ao longo do ano, e em qualquer perodo do ano em que ocorra a
investigao os resultados sero semelhantes; j alimentos que so consumidos de forma
mais sazonal, requerem mltiplas avaliaes ao longo o ano para que se consigam bons
resultados. (26)
Considerar a estao do ano em que ocorre a investigao ir melhorar a exactido
dos resultados em investigaes dietticas e assegurar a acuidade dos estudos que
associam a dieta doena. (22,25,26,30,109) Por outro lado, alerta-se ainda para a
necessidade de ter em ateno o perodo em que decorreu a investigao, quando se fazem
comparaes entre estudos no mesmo pas ou entre pases, pois a incluso de todo o ano
ou apenas parte do ano no perodo de investigao pode modificar os dados de consumo
alimentar e/ou ingesto recolhidos.
Na falta de estudos relativos ao consumo de alimentos, como o caso de Portugal,
os resultados obtidos indiretamente pelos Inquritos s Despesas da Famlias podem
auxiliar os nutricionistas e demais profissionais de sade, no conhecimento dos
comportamentos alimentares e proporcionando uma boa estimativa do consumo alimentar e
ingesto diettica efetuadas pelos membros das famlias ao longo do ano.
Este conhecimento, aliado identificao dos grupos de populao mais suscetveis
ao consumo sazonal de determinados alimentos, importante para o desenvolvimento de
programas de promoo da sade, como por exemplo, os programas de fortificao (84) e
reviso das recomendaes e mensagens dirigidas ao pblico em geral e a grupos-alvo
especficos, (103) bem como para contemplar a sazonalidade alimentar na definio da
poltica nutricional do pas.
Limitaes e pontos fortes
Esta investigao tem importantes limitaes, prprias da utilizao dos IDEF na
avaliao da disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias e consequente inferncia do
consumo de alimentos pelos seus membros. Nomeadamente, a falta de informao em
relao s refeies efectuadas fora de casa (restaurantes, cantinas, etc.), que est
relacionada com a diminuio da necessidade de adquirir alimentos para casa e, portanto,
94

no se conseguir avaliar a composio e respectiva sazonalidade na disponibilidade dos


ingredientes utilizados nessas refeies; e o desconhecimento da distribuio dos alimentos
pelo agregado (preferncia dos homens, mulheres ou crianas), desperdcio e alimentos
para animais, ofertas e presena de convidados na famlia. (51,52,68,84)
Apesar disto, a boa correlao entre os resultados da disponibilidade familiar de
alimentos e os resultados provenientes do consumo de alimentos pelos indivduos, como
encontrado em estudos efetuados em Portugal (62) e noutros pases, (63-66) tm permitido
tirar concluses bastante aproximadas do consumo de alimentos.
H ainda a limitao da definio das estaes do ano, pois o perodo quinzenal de
avaliao dos inquritos no coincide exatamente com a estao do ano: 4 quinzenas de
avaliao incluem o fim de uma estao e o incio da estao seguinte. Esta definio
responsvel, em parte, pelos resultados obtidos na disponibilidade de alguns alimentos no
outono, que seriam de esperar no inverno devido comemorao das festividades do Natal
e Ano Novo.
Outra limitao importante prende-se com o fato de os alimentos disponveis na
famlia no perodo em investigao no serem consumidos no mesmo perodo pois, de
modo geral, os alimentos adquiridos nem sempre so imediatamente consumidos. ainda
possvel que os alimentos adquiridos e disponveis numa estao do ano s sejam
consumidos nos meses seguintes, como acontece com os alimentos pouco perecveis
adquiridos em pocas de menor preo e/ou maior produo (exp: batatas) (3) ou em aces
promocionais efectuadas pelos retalhistas (mercearia, leos, bebidas, etc). A no
considerao da disponibilidade inicial e final de alimentos no perodo de investigao
tambm pode alterar a disponibilidade de alimentos nas famlias. No entanto, como as
unidades de estudo incluem uma amostra representativa de agregados familiares, as
variaes no armazenamento e seu impacto na disponibilidade familiar tendem a anular-se.
(71)
Esta investigao tem como principais pontos fortes o tamanho elevado da amostra,
a representatividade da populao portuguesa e o controlo estatstico de diversos atributos
sociodemogrficos que poderiam atuar como fator confundidor. A recolha de informao
detalhada sobre a aquisio de alimentos e bebidas, atravs de um protocolo
estandardizado e aplicado num perodo de tempo relativamente longo, possibilita a posterior
comparao ao longo do tempo e entre pases.
Por outro lado, h uma lacuna na investigao deste assunto, sendo o nico artigo
conhecido a centrar-se no assunto em Portugal.
95

Futuras investigaes
As tendncias temporais na disponibilidade sazonal de alimentos nas famlias
portuguesas e a comparao com a disponibilidade sazonal de alimentos nas famlias em
outros pases, so assuntos que merecem investigao futura, pois importante o
conhecimento

de

como

desenvolvimento

econmico

outras

alteraes

sociodemogrficas contribuem para alteraes mais ou menos benficas na disponibilidade


de alimentos.
A avaliao das variaes sazonais ao nvel da ingesto de energia, macronutrientes
e outros componentes alimentares poderia tambm ser de utilidade na monitorizao da
adequao nutricional ao longo do ano.

CONCLUSES
Na maioria dos grupos de alimentos houve variao sazonal na disponibilidade
mdia de alimentos das famlias portuguesas em 2005/2006. Somente os lacticnios,
gorduras e leos, e bebidas alcolicas no apresentaram variaes significativas enquanto
grupo, mas tambm houve variao sazonal nos alimentos e bebidas neles includos,
excepto leite e outros leos vegetais que no o azeite.
Em alguns grupos de alimentos encontrou-se clara distino entre a disponibilidade
na primavera-vero vs outono-inverno: maior disponibilidade de frutas, hortcolas, bebidas
no alcolicas, outros produtos lteos (que no o leite e o queijo) e cerveja na primaveravero, e maior disponibilidade de leguminosas, batatas, cereais e produtos cerealferos,
ovos e vinho no outono-inverno.
A magnitude das variaes sazonais foi pequena, excepto no grupo dos frutos secos
e oleaginosos, e verificaram-se interaces das estaes do ano com as variveis
sociodemogrficas, exceto para a regio do pas, mas tambm de magnitude pequena.

AGRADECIMENTOS
Os autores agradecem ao Instituto Nacional de Estatstica a entidade portuguesa
responsvel pela preparao e execuo do Inqurito s Despesas da Famlia 2005/2006,
por permitir a utilizao das suas bases de dados.

96

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108

CONCLUSES

Apesar dos artigos publicados que tinham como objectivo a avaliao do consumo
sazonal de alimentos serem escassos e os resultados nem sempre serem comparveis
entre pases e entre si, possvel concluir que se verifica maior variao sazonal no
consumo de alimentos do que na ingesto de energia e nutrientes, mas que a variao
cclica da ingesto de energia e nutrientes ao longo do ano pode representar um importante
problema de sade pblica, quando se traduz em modificaes no estado nutricional e de
sade individual e da comunidade.
Com este trabalho tambm ficou demonstrado que em Portugal h variao sazonal
na disponibilidade familiar na maioria dos grupos de alimentos, e somente os laticnios,
gorduras e leos e bebidas alcolicas no apresentaram variao sazonal, embora a
maioria dos subgrupos de alimentos destes grupos apresentem tambm variao sazonal.
Embora, com excepo dos frutos secos oleaginosos, o tamanho das variaes
encontradas seja pequeno, estas variaes traduzem-se frequentemente em gradientes de
maior e menor disponibilidade na primavera-vero vs outono-inverno: frutas, hortcolas,
bebidas no alcolicas, outros produtos lteos (que no o leite e o queijo) e cerveja mais
disponveis na primavera-vero, e maior disponibilidade de leguminosas, batatas, cereais e
produtos cerealferos, ovos e vinho no outono-inverno.
Conhecer as variaes sazonais, na disponibilidade e consumo de alimentos e na
ingesto de energia e nutrientes, que ocorrem numa populao fundamental para o
controlo desta varivel na interpretao de resultados nos estudos epidemiolgicos. Ao
identificarem-se tambm os factores sociodemogrficos responsveis pela diferenciao
nesta variao ao longo do ano e as consequncias da sazonalidade dos hbitos
alimentares no estado nutricional e de sade, possvel delinear recomendaes
especficas, aplicveis e sustentveis, de segurana e adequao nutricionais na
elaborao das polticas de nutrio e sade pblica.

109

110

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