Effects of the Consumption Frequency of ultra-processed Foods and its association with nutritional status parameters on Mexican labor force population

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Human diet and eating patterns have been constantly changing, from ingesting raw, unprocessed foods and traditional dishes to an accelerated increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages (Simões dos S et al., 2018). Advances in food science and technology and globalized food distribution have led to greater accessibility and convenience (low cost) for consumers (Simões dos S et al., 2018). The NOVA system groups foods according to nature, purpose, and degree of processing. Thus, ultra-processed foods are defined as those industrial formulations made from substances derived from food or synthesized from other organic sources (OPS, 2015). These products contain high amounts of refined sugars, sodium, and fats (saturated and trans), preservatives, and other synthetic additives (OPS, 2015). The resulting diet is characterized by excessive caloric density, high in simple sugars, unhealthy fats and salt, and low dietary fiber, increasing the risk of adult obesity and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) related to food (Marrón-Ponce et al., 2018).

The proportion of ultra-processed foods in the food supply can be considered a measure of the overall quality of a population’s diet (OPS, 2015). Mexico is the first consumer of ultra-processed foods in Latin America and the fourth worldwide (OPS, 2015). Several studies carried out in Mexico and Latin America (Marrón-Ponce et al., 2018; Torres-Zapata et al., 2017; Bezerra et al., 2017; Queiroz Bortolozo et al., 2016) have demonstrated the adverse effects of increased consumption of ultra-processed foods in the economically active population, highlighting the potential repercussions on their health and quality of life. In Mexico in 2020, the economically active population (EAP) comprised approximately 56 million people (INEGI, 2021). Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the nutritional status of this sector.

No studies have been found on consuming ultra-processed products/foods in the economically active population and its relationship with nutritional status in Mexico. Due to the above, the objective of this study was to determine the relationship between the frequency of consumption of ultra-processed foods and the nutritional status indicators of a sample of the economically active population (EAP) of a labor force population in Mexico.

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