Background: Latin America has experienced changes in lifestyle since 1960. Aim: The aim was to determine the prevalence of obesity and stunting among eight countries of Latin American and to identify the determinant risk factors for obesity. Subjects and Methods: Data were obtained from 9,218 participants of the Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health (ELANS), a multicenter cross-sectional study of the representative samples in eight Latin American countries. All the participants completed a standard protocol to investigate the nutrient intake and anthropometric variables (weight, height, and circumferences) analyzed by country, gender, age, and socioeconomic status. Results: The prevalence of obesity was higher in Costa Rica and Venezuela (29%) and lower in Colombia (16%), stunting was reported higher in Peru (47%) and lower in Argentina (17%), and waist and neck circumferences showed the higher values in Costa Rica (43%) and Chile (52%) and lower values in Colombia (23 and 26%). Conclusion: This study indicates an increasing trend toward overweight and obesity that are associated with lower socioeconomic status, being a woman, and concurs with inadequate intakes of calcium, which may be related to poor quality diet and in the long term could constitute risk factors for the chronic diseases and a health burden to the region.
Keywords: ELANS study; Latin America; health risk; obesity; stunting.
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