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Can J Public Health. 2019 Feb;110(1):4-14. doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0130-x. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity in Canada.

Author information

1
École de Santé Publique, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
2
Département de Nutrition, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
3
Department of Public Policies and Collective Health, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
4
School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
5
Département de Nutrition, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada. jc.moubarac@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity in the Canadian population.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study including 19,363 adults aged 18 years or more from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, cycle 2.2. Ultra-processed food intake was estimated using daily relative energy intake of ultra-processed food (% of total energy intake) from data obtained by 24-h food recalls. Obesity was assessed using body mass index (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Univariate and multivariate linear regressions were performed to describe ultra-processed food consumption according to socio-economic and demographic variables, and multivariate logistic regression was performed to verify the association between ultra-processed food consumption and obesity, adjusting for potential confounders, including socio-demographic factors, physical activity, smoking, immigrant status, residential location, and measured vs self-reported weight and height.

RESULTS:

Ultra-processed foods make up almost half (45%) of the daily calories consumed by Canadian adults. Consumption of these foods is higher among men, younger adults, those with fewer years of formal education, smokers, those physically inactive, and Canadian-born individuals. Ultra-processed food consumption is positively associated with obesity. After adjusting for confounding factors, individuals in the highest quintile of ultra-processed food consumption were 32% more likely of having obesity compared to individuals in the first quintile (predicted OR = e0.005 × 56 = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.05-1.57).

CONCLUSION:

Canadians would benefit from reducing consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages and increasing consumption of freshly prepared dishes made from unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

KEYWORDS:

Diet quality; Food processing; Obesity; Ultra-processed food

PMID:
30238324
DOI:
10.17269/s41997-018-0130-x

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