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To assess the consumption of ultra-processed foods and its association with the overall dietary content of nutrients related to non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the Chilean diet and to estimate the population attributable fraction of ultra-processed food consumption on the unhealthy nutrient content.
Cross-sectional analysis of dietary data collected through a national survey (2010).
Chilean population aged ≥2 years (n 4920).
In Chile, ultra-processed foods represented 28·6 % of the total energy intake. A significant positive association was found between the dietary share of ultra-processed foods and NCD-promoting nutrients such as dietary energy density (standardised regression coefficient (β) = 0·22), content of free sugars (β = 0·45), total fats (β = 0·26), saturated fats (β = 0·19), trans fats (β = 0·09) and Na:K ratio (β = 0·04), while a significant negative association was found with the content of NCD-protective nutrients such as K (β = –0·19) and fibre (β = –0·31). The content of Na (β = 0·02) presented no significant association. Except for Na, the prevalence of inadequate intake of all nutrients (WHO recommendations) increased across quintiles of the dietary share of ultra-processed foods. With the reduction of ultra-processed foods consumption to the level seen among the 20 % lowest consumers (3·8 % (0–9·3 %) of the total energy from ultra-processed foods), the prevalence of nutrient inadequacy would be reduced in almost three-fourths for trans fats; in half for energy density (foods); in around one-third for saturated fats, energy density (beverages), free sugars and total fats; in near 20 % for fibre and Na:K ratio and in 13 % for K.
In Chile, decreasing the consumption of ultra-processed foods is a potentially effective way to achieve the WHO nutrient goals for the prevention of diet-related NCD.
Inadequate protein quality may be a risk factor for poor growth. To examine the effect of a macronutrient–micronutrient supplement KOKO Plus (KP), provided to infants from 6 to 18 months of age, on linear growth, a single-blind cluster-randomised study was implemented in Ghana. A total of thirty-eight communities were randomly allocated to receive KP (fourteen communities, n 322), a micronutrient powder (MN, thirteen communities, n 329) and nutrition education (NE, eleven communities, n 319). A comparison group was followed cross-sectionally (n 303). Supplement delivery and morbidity were measured weekly and anthropometry monthly. NE education was provided monthly. Baseline, midline and endline measurements at 6, 12 and 18 months included venous blood draws, diet, anthropometry, morbidity, food security and socio-economics. Length-for-age Z-score (LAZ) was the primary outcome. Analyses were intent-to-treat using mixed-effects regressions adjusted for clustering, sex, age and baseline. No differences existed in mean LAZ scores at endline (−1·219 (sd 0·06) KP, −1·211 (sd 0·03) MN, −1·266 (sd 0·03) NE). Acute infection prevalence was lower in the KP than NE group (P = 0·043). Mean serum Hb was higher in KP infants free from acute infection (114·02 (sd 1·87) g/l) than MN (107·8 (sd 2·5) g/l; P = 0·047) and NE (108·8 (sd 0·99) g/l; P = 0·051). Compliance was 84·9 % (KP) and 87·2 % (MN) but delivery 60 %. Adjusting for delivery and compliance, LAZ score at endline was significantly higher in the KP v. MN group (+0·2 LAZ; P = 0·026). A macro- and micronutrient-fortified supplement KP reduced acute infection, improved Hb and demonstrated a dose–response effect on LAZ adjusting consumption for delivery.
To assess the consumption of ultra-processed foods and analyse its association with the content of added sugars in the Chilean diet.
Cross-sectional study of national dietary data obtained through 24 h recalls and classified into food groups according to the extent and purpose of food processing (NOVA classification).
A probabilistic sample of 4920 individuals (aged 2 years or above) studied in 2010 by a national dietary survey (Encuesta Nacional de Consumo Alimentario).
Ultra-processed foods represented 28·6 (se 0·5) % of total energy intake and 58·6 (se 0·9) % of added sugars intake. The mean percentage of energy from added sugars increased from 7·7 (se 0·3) to 19·7 (se 0·5) % across quintiles of the dietary share of ultra-processed foods. After adjusting for several potential sociodemographic confounders, a 5 percentage point increase in the dietary share of ultra-processed foods determined a 1 percentage point increase in the dietary content of added sugars. Individuals in the highest quintile were three times more likely (OR=2·9; 95 % CI 2·4, 3·4) to exceed the 10 % upper limit for added sugars recommended by the WHO compared with those in the lowest quintile, after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. This association was strongest among individuals aged 2–19 years (OR=3·9; 95 % CI 2·7, 5·9).
In Chile, ultra-processed foods are important contributors to total energy intake and to the consumption of added sugars. Actions aimed at limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods are being implemented as effective ways to achieve WHO dietary recommendations to limit added sugars and processed foods, especially for children and adolescents.
To examine the association between women’s empowerment in agriculture and nutritional status among children under 2 years of age in rural Nepal.
Cross-sectional survey of 4080 households conducted in 2012. Data collected included: child and maternal anthropometric measurements; child age and sex; maternal age, education, occupation and empowerment in agriculture; and household size, number of children, religion, caste and agro-ecological zone. Associations between the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)’s Five Domains of Empowerment (5DE) sub-index and its ten component indicators and child length-for-age Z-scores (LAZ) and weight-for-length Z-scores (WLZ) were estimated, using ordinary least-squares regression models, with and without adjustments for key child, maternal and household level covariates.
Two hundred and forty rural communities across sixteen districts of Nepal.
Children under 24 months of age and their mothers (n 1787).
The overall WEAI 5DE was positively associated with LAZ (β=0·20, P=0·04). Three component indicators were also positively associated with LAZ: satisfaction with leisure time (β=0·27, P<0·01), access to and decisions regarding credit (β=0·20, P=0·02) and autonomy in production (β=0·10, P=0·04). No indicator of women’s empowerment in agriculture was associated with WLZ.
Women’s empowerment in agriculture, as measured by the WEAI 5DE and three of its ten component indicators, was significantly associated with LAZ, highlighting the potential role of women’s empowerment in improving child nutrition in Nepal. Additional studies are needed to determine whether interventions to improve women’s empowerment will improve child nutrition.
To analyse the relationship between serum folate (SF), vitamin B12 and impaired cognitive function in the Chilean elderly.
We analysed the relationships between impaired cognitive function and age, SF (µg/l) and vitamin B12 (pg/ml) with Student’s t test, as well as between impaired cognitive function and gender, educational level, residence area, diabetes and hypertension with the χ2 test. Multiple logistic regressions with interactions were estimated to assess the impact of SF on impaired cognitive function according to these methods.
Older adults (>65 years, n 1051), drawn from representative households of a national prevalence study, assessed using the Modified Mini Mental Status Examination (MMMSE). Individuals with altered MMMSE scores (≤13 points) were sequentially assessed using the Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (PFAQ).
Multivariate models using the MMMSE demonstrated an increased risk of impaired cognitive function for seniors who had hypertension, diabetes and higher vitamin B12 levels. SF and its square (SF2) were statistically significant, indicating that this predictor of impaired cognitive function displays a U-shaped distribution. The interaction between SF and vitamin B12 was not statistically significant. Models using the MMMSE plus PFAQ suggested that urban residence decreased the risk of impaired cognitive function, whereas male gender, older age, vitamin B12 levels and hypertension increased this risk. The variables SF and SF2 and the SF × vitamin B12 interaction were statistically significant (P<0.05). The risk of impaired cognitive function depended on different combinations of SF and vitamin B12 levels. When SF was low, a one-unit increase in SF (1 µg/l) diminished the risk. When SF was elevated, a further increase in SF raised the risk, especially at low vitamin B12 levels.
The relationship between folate, vitamin B12 and impaired cognitive function warrants further study.
In post-transitional countries, obesity disproportionally affects women. Longitudinal studies can detect high-risk groups in whom to target actions. We investigated the magnitude and velocity of BMI changes in Chilean women of reproductive age and evaluated whether these trends vary in specific groups.
Longitudinal study. We measured weight and height in 2007 (baseline) and again in 2010 (follow-up); we estimated change in BMI (weight/height2) within the 3-year period and assessed its relationship with age, years of education and parity, collected at baseline and follow-up using a questionnaire.
Population-based cohort of low- to middle-income Chilean women.
Seven hundred and sixty-one women of reproductive age (mean 32·0 (sd 7·0) years), mothers of children who participate in the Growth and Obesity Cohort Study (GOCS).
At baseline, 61 % of women had BMI ≥ 25·0 kg/m2. After 3 years, women gained on average 2·6 kg and obesity (BMI ≥ 30·0 kg/m2) increased by 23 % (12 % new obesity cases). Women with normal nutritional status gained more BMI than obese women (1·4 v. 0·6 kg/m2, P < 0·001). An increase in parity was positively associated with BMI change, independently of age, nutritional status and education (P < 0·05). Age and education were not associated with BMI change after controlling for other factors (P > 0·05).
In Chile, a post-transitional country, we observed an alarming increase in obesity among women of reproductive age. Our results indicate that in this population actions need to be targeted at all women irrespective of their nutritional status. A key component of these policies should be avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Dietary protein and amino acid requirement recommendations for normal “healthy” children and adults have varied considerably with 2007 FAO/WHO protein requirement estimates for children lower, but dietary essential AA requirements for adults more than doubled. Requirement estimates as presented do not account for common living conditions, which are prevalent in developing countries such as energy deficit, infection burden and added functional demands for protein and AAs. This study examined the effect of adjusting total dietary protein for quality and digestibility (PDCAAS) and of correcting current protein and AA requirements for the effect of infection and a mild energy deficit to estimate utilizable protein (total protein corrected for biological value and digestibility) and the risk/prevalence of protein inadequacy. The relationship between utilizable protein/prevalence of protein inadequacy and stunting across regions and countries was examined. Data sources (n = 116 countries) included FAO FBS (food supply), UNICEF (stunting prevalence), UNDP (GDP) and UNSTATS (IMR) and USDA nutrient tables. Statistical analyses included Pearson correlations, paired-sample/non-parametric t-tests and linear regression. Statistically significant differences were observed in risk/prevalence estimates of protein inadequacy using total protein and the current protein requirements versus utilizable protein and the adjusted protein requirements for all regions (p < 0·05). Total protein, utilizable protein, GDP per capita and total energy were each highly correlated with the prevalence of stunting. Energy, protein and utilizable protein availability were independently and negatively associated with stunting (p < 0·001), explaining 41 %, 34 % and 40 % of variation respectively. Controlling for energy, total protein was not a statistically significant factor but utilizable protein remained significant explaining~45 % of the variance (p = 0·017). Dietary utilizable protein provides a better index of population impact of risk/prevalence of protein inadequacy than crude protein intake. We conclude that the increased demand for protein due to infections and mild to moderate energy deficits, should be appropriately considered in assessing needs of populations where those conditions still prevail.
To review the impact of folic acid fortification of flour on the prevalence of neural tube defects (NTD).
Systematic review of the literature on MEDLINE via PubMed, Scopus, OvidSP and LILACS (Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature) reporting the impact of folic acid fortification of flour on the prevalence of NTD in 2000–2011. Focusing on Santiago of Chile's birth defects registry (1999–2009) and the monitoring of flour fortification, we analysed the prevalence (NTD cases/10 000 births) pre and post flour fortification and the percentile distribution of folic acid content in flour (2005–2009). We explored the potential association between median folic acid in flour (mg/kg) and the prevalence of NTD.
Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Iran, Jordan, South Africa and the USA.
Live births and stillbirths.
Twenty-seven studies that met inclusion criteria were evaluated. Costa Rica showed a significant reduction in NTD (∼60 %). Prevalence in Chile decreased from 18·6 to 7·3/10 000 births from 1999 to 2007 and showed a slight increase to 8·5 in 2008–2009, possibly due to changes in fortification limits. When we related the prevalence of NTD with levels of flour fortification, the lowest prevalence was observed at a folic acid level of 1·5 mg/kg.
Fortification of flour with folic acid has had a major impact on NTD in all countries where this has been reported. Chile showed a 55 % reduction in NTD prevalence between 1999 and 2009. There is a need to constantly monitor the levels of flour fortification to maximize benefits and prevent the potential risk of folic acid excess, moreover to be vigilant for any new adverse effects associated with excess.
Oily fish and other sources of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPs) have been proposed as protective against dementia and age related cognitive impairment. The basic mechanisms underlying these proposed benefits have been postulated and experimental studies supporting the plausibility of the putative effects have been published. Observational epidemiological and case control studies also largely support a protective role of fish consumption on cognitive function with advancing age, albeit with important unexplained heterogeneity in findings. In this review we report the findings of the latest Cochrane review on the benefits of n-3 LCP supplementation on cognitive function among cognitively healthy older people and expand the review by including trials conducted with individuals with prevalent poor cognitive function or dementia. We identified seven relevant trials, four among cognitively healthy older people, and three among individuals with pre-existing cognitive decline or dementia, and overall conclude that there is no evidence to support the routine use of n-3 LCPs supplements for the prevention, or amelioration, of cognitive decline in later life. We identified several challenges in the design of intervention studies for the prevention of dementia and cognitive decline in older people that require careful consideration especially in recruitment and retention in long-term trials. Whether the lack of agreement in findings from mechanistic and observational data and from intervention studies reflects a real absence of benefit on cognitive function from n-3 LCP supplementation, or whether it reflects intrinsic limitations in the design of published studies remains open to question.
The aim of this review is to evaluate the effects of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) supplementation in pregnant and lactating women and infants during postnatal life, on the visual acuity, psychomotor development, mental performance and growth of infants and children. Eighteen publications (11 sets of randomized control clinical trial [RCTs]) assessed the effects of the n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy on neurodevelopment and growth, in the same subjects at different time points; 4 publications (2 data sets from RCTs) addressed physiological responses to n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy & lactation and 5 publications (3 data sets from RCTs) exclusively during lactation. Some of these studies showed beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation during pregnancy and/or lactation especially on visual acuity outcomes and some on long-term neurodevelopment; a few, showed positive effects on growth. There were also 15 RCTs involving term infants who received infant formula supplemented with DHA, which met our selection criteria. Many of these studies claimed a beneficial effect of such supplementation on visual, neural, or developmental outcomes and no effects on growth. Although new well designed and conducted studies are being published, evidence from RCTs does not demonstrate still a clear and consistent benefit of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy and/or lactation on term infants growth, neurodevelopment and visual acuity. These results should be interpreted with caution due to methodological limitations of the included studies.
Background: Adult leg length is influenced by nutrition in the first few years of life. Adult head circumference is an indicator of brain growth. There is a limited literature linking short legs and small skulls to an increased risk for cognitive impairment and dementia in late life.
Methods: One phase cross-sectional surveys were carried out of all residents aged over 65 years in 11 catchment areas in China, India, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Peru (n = 14,960). The cross-culturally validated 10/66 dementia diagnosis, and a sociodemographic and risk factor questionnaire were administered to all participants, and anthropometric measures taken. Poisson regression was used to calculate prevalence ratios for the effect of leg length and skull circumference upon 10/66 dementia, controlling for age, gender, education and family history of dementia.
Results: The pooled meta-analyzed fixed effect for leg length (highest vs. lowest quarter) was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.68–0.98) and for skull circumference 0.75 (95% CI, 0.63–0.89). While point estimates varied between sites, the proportion of the variability attributable to heterogeneity between studies as opposed to sampling error (I2) was 0% for leg length and 22% for skull circumference. The effects were independent and not mediated by family history of dementia. The effect of skull circumference was not modified by educational level or gender, and the effect of leg length was not modified by gender.
Conclusions: Since leg length and skull circumference are said to remain stable throughout adulthood into old age, reverse causality is an unlikely explanation for the findings. Early life nutritional programming, as well as neurodevelopment may protect against neurodegeneration.
There is controversy whether children should have a dietary supply of preformed long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The aims of the workshop were to review evidence for a possible benefit of a preformed EPA and/or DHA supply, of data required to set desirable intakes for children aged 2–12 years, and of research priorities. The authors concluded that EPA and DHA intakes per kg body weight may often be low in 2- to 12-year-old children, relative to intakes per kg body weight of breast-fed infants and adult intakes, but reliable data are scarce. Little information is available that increasing dietary intakes of EPA or DHA in children has benefits to physical or mental function or other health endpoints. Studies addressing EPA and DHA intakes and tissue status among groups of children with different dietary habits, and measures of relevant development and health endpoints, are needed for developing potential advice on desirable intakes of EPA and/or DHA in children. At this time it appears prudent to advise that dietary intakes in childhood are consistent with future eating patterns supporting adult health, such as prevention of metabolic disorders and CVD, supporting immune function, and reproductive health. In conclusion, the available information relating dietary EPA and DHA intakes in children aged 2–12 years to growth, development and health is insufficient to derive dietary intake recommendations for EPA and DHA. Adequately designed studies addressing dietary intakes, measures of status and relevant functional or health effects across this age group are needed.
To examine the opinions of physicians in Bahrain regarding their role in obesity control, and to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes and practices towards obesity prevention and management in primary health care.
A cross-sectional survey of physicians in Bahrain. A single-stage cluster sample was used, which included twelve health centres and 107 physicians. Ninety-seven physicians participated in the study with a 90 % response rate. A self-administered questionnaire was used to measure physicians’ knowledge and practices, their perceived role and potential limitations. Correction for design effect and finite population were considered in the analysis.
The majority of physicians in Bahrain (92 %) were aware of the obesity epidemic and 60 % of them felt capable of assuming a major role in obesity control, regardless of their negative views towards the success rates of weight management. Only 36 % agreed that they had effective weight-management practices. They were knowledgeable about weight-loss goals and showed a reasonable level of obesity identification, especially as part of chronic disease care (71 %). Physicians reported a high rate of utilization of various weight-loss strategies, except for pharmacotherapy and surgery. The major barriers identified in patient care included time constraints (91 %), lack of specialty clinics (81 %), absence of guidelines (78 %) and an inadequate number of dietitians (71 %). Sixty-four per cent reported that training in lifestyle counselling and behaviour modification are important requirements.
Physicians in Bahrain showed a reasonable level of interest in participating in obesity prevention and management. It seems that there would be a good opportunity for better practice if physicians were supported with appropriate training and the constraints of their working environment were adequately addressed.
Obesity prevalence among Chilean children is 19·4 %. The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a school-based obesity prevention programme.
Non-randomized controlled study. The intervention included activities in nutrition and physical activity, fully applied the first year and partially in the second one. Primary outcomes were BMI Z-score (BMIZ) and obesity prevalence; secondary outcomes were waist circumference and triceps skinfold thickness. Time effects were assessed by changes in BMI-related variables by gender and period (ANOVA and Tukey test), while intervention effects were determined by comparing changes in (i) obesity prevalence by gender and period (PROC GENMOD) and (ii) BMIZ according gender, age and period (PROC MIXED).
Primary schools in the Chilean cities of Casablanca (intervention group) and Quillota (control group).
One thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine children from three schools (intervention group) and 671 from one school (control group).
Over the two years, obesity prevalence and BMIZ declined significantly in the intervention group; from 17·0 % to 12·3 % and 14·1 % to 10·3 % in boys and girls, respectively, and from 0·62 to 0·53 and 0·64 to 0·58, respectively. In the control group, obesity remained stable at about 21 % and 15 %, while BMIZ increased significantly in the second year. BMIZ declined in both genders and all age categories in the intervention group during the first year (significant only in younger boys). No changes occurred during the summer, while during the second year, BMIZ increased in boys and girls from both groups (significant only in the younger control boys). Obesity declined significantly only in boys during the first year.
Effectiveness was greater in the first school year and more evident in younger boys.
Non-communicable chronic diseases are now a worldwide epidemic. Diet and physical activity throughout life are among its main determinants. In countries undergoing the early stages of the nutrition transition weight gain from birth to 2 years of life is related to lean mass gain, while ponderal gain after age 2 years is related to adiposity and later diabetes and CVD risk. Evidence from developing countries undergoing the more advanced stages of the nutrition transition is limited. The early growth patterns of a cohort of Chilean children born in 2002 with normal birth weight who at 4 years had a high prevalence of obesity and CVD risk factors have been assessed. Results indicate that BMI gain in early life, particularly from 6 months to 24 months, is positively associated with adiposity and CVD risk status at 4 years. These results together with existing evidence suggest that actions to prevent obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases in developing countries should start early in life, possibly after 6 months of age. This approach should consider assessing the effect of mode of feeding and the amount and type of energy fed, as well as the resulting growth patterns. The challenge for researchers addressing the nutrition transition is to define the optimal nutrition in early life, considering not only the short- and long-term health consequences but also taking into account the stage of the nutritional transition for the given population of interest. The latter will probably require redefining optimal postnatal growth based on the context of maternal size and fetal growth.