Protective factors: healthy eating, physical activity and health

The approach related to the adoption of a healthy diet and the practice of physical activity becomes essential, considering that scientific evidence demonstrates that factors related to diet and physical inactivity are involved in the development of various diseases.

Source: The importance of a balanced diet in healthy and unhealthy food. Kiabatha, 2021.

High consumption of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol increases the risk of coronary heart disease, ischemia and other cardiovascular diseases. The high consumption of total and saturated fats is also associated with an increased risk of some types of cancer, such as bowel, rectum, breast, endometrium and prostate cancers (WORLD CANCER RESEARCH FUND; AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH apud BRASIL, 2004).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables (per capita daily consumption of less than 400 grams or approximately five daily servings of fruits and vegetables) is responsible for 2.7 million deaths and by 31% of ischemic heart diseases, 11% of cerebrovascular diseases and 19% of gastrointestinal cancers occurring worldwide annually. Also according to the WHO, dyslipidemias, mostly caused by the excessive consumption of saturated fats of animal origin, annually determine 4.4 million deaths, accounting for 18% of cerebrovascular diseases and 56% of ischemic heart diseases.

WHO global estimates also indicate that physical inactivity is responsible for nearly two million deaths, 22% of ischemic heart disease cases and 10% to 16% of diabetes and breast and colon cancers. and straight (WHO, 2002).
Knowing the frequency and distribution of risk and protective factors in the Brazilian population is essential for planning and evaluating public health policies. Thus, the Ministry of Health implemented the Vigitel survey (Surveillance System for Risk and Protection Factors for Chronic Diseases) in 2006, carried out in 26 Brazilian states and the Federal District, for the purpose of monitoring the main risk and protection factors for the development of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases.

In 2009, the first specific results on the population benefiting from health plans were published, which will make it possible to know the risk and protective factors for CNCDs in this population group.
The survey “Vigitel Brasil 2008” identified that the frequency of adults who consume fruits and vegetables on five or more days a week was 36.5% among women and 25.7% among men. The highest frequency of consumption was identified in Florianópolis (41.6%) and the lowest in Belém (19.5%) (BRASIL, 2009a). Among individuals who have health plans, the frequency of consumption of fruits and vegetables on five or more days a week ranged between 19.8% in Belém and 48.0% in Florianópolis, with 42.0% between women and 29.4% among men (BRASIL, 2009b).

The consumption of meat with excess fat (greasy red meat or chicken with skin without removing the visible fat from these foods), in turn, was more frequent in men (44.0%) than in women (25.1% ). With regard to the cities studied, the frequency of consumption varied between 25.4% in Salvador and 48.8% in Campo Grande (BRASIL, 2009a). The frequency of consumption among health plan beneficiaries was also much more frequent in men (41.2%) than in women (22.5%), and varied between 17.7% in Salvador and 47.4% in Cuiabá (BRASIL, 2009b).
With regard to the practice of physical activity, the survey showed that the frequency of adults who practice enough physical activity during leisure time ranged between 12.1% in São Paulo and 21.5% in Palmas. In all cities, more men than women engage in enough leisure-time physical activity. In the adult population of the 27 cities studied, the frequency of sufficient physical activity in leisure was 16.4%, being higher in males (20.6%) than in females (12.8%) (BRASIL, 2009a).

The results of ‘Vigitel Saúde Suplementar 2008’ show that the frequency of adult beneficiaries of health plans who practice sufficient physical activity in their free time ranged between 11.9% in Maceió and 31.3% in Boa Vista, being more frequent in Boa Vista. male (20.0%) than female (13.4%). Among men, the frequency was higher in the age group between 18 and 24 years (31.2%) and, among women, there was no difference between age groups (BRASIL, 2009b).

It is noteworthy that the research in question considered as active adult in free time, those who practice activities of light or moderate intensity, such as walking, walking on a treadmill, weight training, hydrogymnastics, general gymnastics, swimming, martial arts, cycling volleyball, among others , for at least 30 minutes a day on 5 or more days a week; or vigorous-intensity activities such as running, treadmill running, aerobics, soccer, basketball, tennis, among others, for at least 20 minutes a day on 3 or more days a week.


BRASIL. Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde. Departamento de Vigilância de Doenças e Agravos não Transmissíveis e Promoção da Saúde. Vigitel Brasil 2016: vigilância de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas por inquérito telefônico: estimativas sobre frequência e distribuição sociodemográfica de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas nas capitais dos 26 estados brasileiros e no Distrito Federal em 2016. Brasília: Ministério da Saúde, 2017.

BRASIL. Ministério Da Saúde. Política Nacional de Alimentação e Nutrição. Brasilia: Ministério da Saúde, 2012. BRASIL. Ministério Da Saúde. Política Nacional de Alimentação e Nutrição. Brasilia: Ministério da Saúde, 1999.

BRASIL. Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção a Saúde. Departamento de Ações Programáticas Estratégicas. Atenção humanizada ao recém-nascido de baixo peso: Método Canguru: manual técnico. 2. Ed. Brasília: Editora do Ministério da Saúde, 2013, p. 204.

BRASIL. Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. Estratégias para o cuidado da pessoa com doença crônica: obesidade. Cadernos de Atenção Básica, n. 38. Brasília: Ministério da Saúde, 2014. p. 212.

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