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Public Health Nutr. 2018 Jan;21(1):87-93. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017002129. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Energy contribution of NOVA food groups and sociodemographic determinants of ultra-processed food consumption in the Mexican population.

Author information

1Nutrition and Health Research Center,National Institute of Public Health,Cuernavaca,Morelos,Mexico.
2Núcleo de Pesquisas Epidemiológicas em Nutricão e Saúde,Universidade de São Paulo,São Paulo,SP,Brazil.
4CONACYT - Nutrition and Health Research Center,National Institute of Public Health,Universidad No. 655,Col. Santa María Ahuacatitlán,Cerrada Los Pinos y Caminera,CP 62100, Cuernavaca,Morelos,México.



To identify the energy contributions of NOVA food groups in the Mexican diet and the associations between individual sociodemographic characteristics and the energy contribution of ultra-processed foods (UPF).


We classified foods and beverages reported in a 24 h recall according to the NOVA food framework into: (i) unprocessed or minimally processed foods; (ii) processed culinary ingredients; (iii) processed foods; and (iv) UPF. We estimated the energy contribution of each food group and ran a multiple linear regression to identify the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and UPF energy contribution.


Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey 2012.


Individuals ≥1 years old (n 10 087).


Unprocessed or minimally processed foods had the highest dietary energy contribution (54·0 % of energy), followed by UPF (29·8 %), processed culinary ingredients (10·2 %) and processed foods (6·0 %). The energy contribution of UPF was higher in: pre-school-aged children v. other age groups (3·8 to 12·5 percentage points difference (pp)); urban areas v. rural (5·6 pp); the Central and North regions v. the South (2·7 and 8·4 pp, respectively); medium and high socio-economic status v. low (4·5 pp, in both); and with higher head of household educational level v. without education (3·4 to 7·8 pp).


In 2012, about 30 % of energy in the Mexican diet came from UPF. Our results showed that younger ages, urbanization, living in the North region, high socio-economic status and high head of household educational level are sociodemographic factors related to higher consumption of UPF in Mexico.


Energy contribution; Mexico; NOVA; Sociodemographic characteristics; Ultra-processed foods

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