Marianella Herrera-Cuenca, Agatha Nogueira Previdelli, Berthold Koletzko, Pablo Hernandez, Maritza Landaeta-Jimenez, Yaritza Sifontes, Georgina Gómez, Irina Kovalskys, Martha Cecilia Yépez García, Rossina Pareja, Lilia Yadira Cortés, Attilio Rigotti, Mauro Fisberg and on behalf of the ELANS Study Group
Latin American (LA) women have been exposed to demographic and epidemiologic changes that have transformed their lifestyle, with increasing sedentary and unhealthy eating behaviors. We aimed to identify characteristics of LA women to inform public policies that would benefit these women and their future children. The Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health (ELANS) is a multicenter cross-sectional study of representative samples in eight Latin American countries (n = 9218) with a standardized protocol to investigate dietary intake, anthropometric variables, physical activity, and socioeconomic characteristics. Here we included the subsample of all 3254 women of childbearing age (15 to <45 years). The majority of ELANS women had a low socioeconomic status (53.5%), had a basic education level (56.4%), had a mostly sedentary lifestyle (61.1%), and were overweight or obese (58.7%). According to the logistic multiple regression model, living in Peru and Ecuador predicts twice the risk of being obese, and an increased neck circumference is associated with a 12-fold increased obesity risk. An increased obesity risk was also predicted by age <19 years (Relative Risk (RR) 19.8) and adequate consumption of vitamin D (RR 2.12) and iron (RR 1.3). In conclusion, the identification of these risk predictors of obesity among Latin American women may facilitate targeted prevention strategies focusing on high-risk groups to promote the long-term health of women and their children.