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Impact of the acquisition of ultra-processed foods and animal-sourced foods on agrobiodiversity in Brazil (2002-03, 2008-09 and 2017-18)

Grant number: 21/08988-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Public Health
Principal Investigator:Carlos Augusto Monteiro
Grantee:Fernanda Helena Marrocos Leite Villamarin
Host Institution: Faculdade de Saúde Pública (FSP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Biodiversity is a pre-condition for preserving natural resources and sustaining life. Nevertheless, global biodiversity is constantly declining, with substantial ongoing losses of populations, species and habitats. Both agricultural intensification and simplification of human diets have been considered key drivers of agrobiodiversity loss. Two main characteristics observed on a global scale could explain the decline in the number of plant species required by human diets: 1) a shift away from traditional diets - based on unprocessed or minimally processed foods and culinary ingredients - to those higher in ultra-processed foods; and 2) the replacement of plant-based to animal-based foods. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the influence of the acquisition of ultra-processed foods and animal-based foods on the biodiversity of the food basket available for consumption by the Brazilian population. Households corresponding to the sample strata of the Family Budget Survey (POF) - carried out in Brazil from June 2002 to July 2003, from May 2008 to May 2009 and from June 2017 to July 2018 - will be used as the unit analysis of the study. Firstly, each item of food consumption (food and beverages) acquired over twelve months by the Brazilian households studied in each survey will be classified, alternatively, in 'ultra-processed' and 'non-ultra-processed' foods (according to the NOVA classification) and in 'plant-based' and 'animal-based' foods (foods of mixed origin will be allocated in one or another category depending on which origin is the predominant one). Then, the total in grams or calories of each item will be distributed according to the plant species mobilised in its production (by applying taxonomic classification system). For plant-based foods composed of a single ingredient, the total acquired in grams or calories will be directly related to the plant species that originated it. In the case of all other acquired items, the total in grams or calories will be distributed proportionally among the plant species mobilized in their production (e.g. in the case of animal-based foods, the plant species mobilized in animal feed will be computed). The measure of biodiversity of food availability in each household will be estimated by indices that take into account both the richness and evenness in the distribution of plant species mobilized by the set of purchased food items ('Species Richness' and Shannon Diversity Index'). Finally, the biodiversity of households' food availability will be estimated, in each survey, for the aggregate of Brazilian households by quintiles of ultra-processed food or animal-based food consumption. All analyses will be performed in Stata (v. 14.2), considering the effect of complex sampling and allowing the extrapolation of the results to the Brazilian population.

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