Consumption of ultra-processed food and its association with obesity in Chilean university students: A multi-center study Ultra-processed food and obesity in Chilean university students

Objective To explore the associations between the consumption of three categories of ultra-processed food (sugary beverages, sweet, and salty snacks) and body mass index (BMI) among Chilean university students. Methods We conducted a multi-center, descriptive study among 2,039 students from 6 Chilean universities. Food consumption was surveyed using a validate food survey. That height and body weight were objectively measured to calculate BMI for determining weight status, and also, tobacco use and physical activity were measured. Results An intake equal to or higher than 1 serving of sugary beverage a day was associated with greater odds of obesity in university students (OR:1.32 [95% CI: 1.00, 1.74]), 2 servings/day (OR: 1.30 [95% CI: 1.04, 1.50]), and 3 servings/day (OR: 1.39 [95% CI: 1.05, 1.80]). Neither consumption of sweet nor salty snacks (>= 1 servings/day) related to differential odds of obesity: (OR: 0.83 [95% CI: 0.42, 1.64]) and (OR: 1.79 [95% CI: 0.93, 3.41]), respectively. Conclusion In a sample of Chilean university students, consumption of sugary beverages, and not consumption of sweet or salty snacks, was associated with obesity.

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