Ultraprocessed Foods Increase Adiposity, Cardiometabolic Risk in Children

Substitution of ultraprocessed with unprocessed or minimally processed foods improves risk factors
Ultraprocessed Foods Increase Adiposity, Cardiometabolic Risk in Children
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- High ultraprocessed food (UPF) consumption in young children is associated with adiposity and other cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a study published online May 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Nadine Khoury, from Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Italy, and colleagues examined the association between UPF consumption and cardiometabolic risk in children. The analysis included 1,426 participants (aged 3 to 6 years) in the Childhood Obesity Risk Assessment Longitudinal Study.

The researchers found that compared with participants in the lowest tertile of energy-adjusted UPF consumption, those in the highest tertile showed higher z scores of body mass index (BMI; β coefficient, 0.20), waist circumference (β coefficient, 0.20), fat mass index (β coefficient, 0.17), and fasting plasma glucose (β coefficient, 0.22), as well as lower z scores for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (β coefficient, −0.19). Each one standard-deviation increment in energy-adjusted UPF consumption was associated with higher z scores for BMI (β coefficient, 0.11), waist circumference (β coefficient, 0.09), fat mass index (β coefficient, 0.11), and fasting plasma glucose (β coefficient, 0.10), as well as lower HDL cholesterol (β coefficient, −0.07). When substituting 100 g of UPFs with 100 g of unprocessed or minimally processed foods, there was an association with lower z scores of BMI (β coefficient, −0.03), fat mass index (β coefficient, −0.03), and fasting plasma glucose (β coefficient, −0.04).

"These findings highlight the need for public health initiatives to promote the replacement of UPFs with unprocessed or minimally processed foods," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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