Current, high-quality data are needed to evaluate the health impact of the epidemic of obesity in Latin America. The Latin American Consortium of Studies of Obesity (LASO) has been established, with the objectives of (i) Accurately estimating the prevalence of obesity and its distribution by sociodemographic characteristics; (ii) Identifying ethnic, socioeconomic and behavioural determinants of obesity; (iii) Estimating the association between various anthropometric indicators or obesity and major cardiovascular risk factors and (iv) Quantifying the validity of standard definitions of the various indexes of obesity in Latin American population. To achieve these objectives, LASO makes use of individual data from existing studies. To date, the LASO consortium includes data from 11 studies from eight countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela), including a total of 32 462 subjects. This article describes the overall organization of LASO, the individual studies involved and the overall strategy for data analysis. LASO will foster the development of collaborative obesity research among Latin American investigators. More important, results from LASO will be instrumental to inform health policies aiming to curtail the epidemic of obesity in the region.
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"Despite the great number of recent studies on obesity and associated conditions in the Latin American population [5,17-28], fewer studies explore its relation with other health-risk behaviors, including smoking, alcohol and other drug use [1,5]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity is a public health problem of alarming proportions, including among the university population in Latin America. The purpose of this study was to determine the relation between the self-reported body mass index and the associated drug use and health-risk behaviors.
We performed a cross-sectional, descriptive study of 3,311 Chilean university students (17-24 years). The variables weight, height, frequency of physical activity, diet quality index, and drug use were evaluated by way of a self-report questionnaire.
16.7% of students were overweight and 2.1% were obese. Higher rates of overweight and obesity were observed in the men compared to women. There was a significant but moderate association between self-perceived obesity and being men and higher age, and just low with greater use of analgesics and tranquilizers with or without a prescription.
The punctual prevalence rates of self-reported obesity, in this sample, are consistent with other Latin American studies. The risk behaviors associated with perceived obesity in terms of gender, particularly the different pattern of drug use, highlight the importance of considering gender when designing strategies to promote health in a university setting.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy
"These discrepancies in types of foods purchased and consumed in major urban areas and the Northern states of Mexico may partially account for the interactive effects noted between higher levels of education and increased obesity risks for rural residents and men. The increase in sedentary lifestyles across Mexico in conjunction with changing dietary patterns   raises serious public health concerns that require programs and policies targeted at the appropriate subgroups experiencing increasing and continued high rates of obesity. Third, an interesting association was noted in the multilevel logistic regression models in that an independent negative association was noted between the level of marginality in a respondent's municipio and their risk of being obese. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper assesses individual and social environment determinants of obesity in the adult Mexican population based on socioeconomic position, rural residence, and areal deprivation. Using a nationally representative health and nutrition survey, this analysis considers individual and structural determinants of obesity from a socioeconomic position and health disparities conceptual framework using multilevel logistic regression models. We find that more than thirty percent of Mexican adults were obese in 2006 and that the odds of being obese were strongly associated with an individual's socioeconomic position, gender, place of residence, and the level of marginalization (areal deprivation) in the place of residence. Surprisingly, areas of the country where areal deprivation was highest had lower risks of individual obesity outcomes. We suggest that programs oriented towards addressing the health benefits of traditional food systems over high-energy dense refined foods and sugary beverages be promoted as part of a public health program aimed at curbing the rising obesity prevalence in Mexico.
"The characteristics and stages of development in the transition differ among the various countries. However, one point stands out, namely the marked increase in the prevalence of obesity in the various population sub-groups in nearly all Latin America and a decline in undernutrition in most countries.24–26 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article analyses the epidemiological research developments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It integrates the series commissioned by the International Epidemiological Association to all WHO Regions to identify global opportunities to promote the development of epidemiology.
Health situations of the regions were analysed based on published data on selected mortality, morbidity and risk factors. Epidemiological publication output by country was estimated by Medline bibliometrics. Internet and literature searches and data provided by key informants were used to describe perspectives on epidemiological training, research and funding.
Despite important advances in recent decades, LAC remains the world's most unequal region. In 2010, 10% of the LAC's people still lived in conditions of multidimensional poverty, with huge variation among countries. The region has experienced fast and complex epidemiological changes in past decades, combining increasing rates of non-communicable diseases and injuries, and keeping uncontrolled many existing endemic and emerging diseases. Overall, epidemiological publications per year increased from 160 articles between 1961 and 1970 to 2492 between 2001 and 2010. The increase in papers per million inhabitants in the past three decades varied from 57% in Panama to 1339% in Paraguay. Universities are the main epidemiological training providers. There are at least 34 universities and other institutions in the region that offer postgraduate programmes at the master's and doctoral levels in epidemiology or public health. Most LAC countries rely largely on external funding and donors to initiate and sustain long-term research efforts. Despite the limited resources, the critical mass of LAC researchers has produced significant scientific contributions. FUTURE NEEDS: The health research panorama of the region shows enormous regional discrepancies, but great prospects. Improving research and human resources capacity in the region will require establishing research partnerships within and outside the region, between rich and poor countries, promoting collaborations between LAC research institutions and universities to boost postgraduate programmes and aligning research investments and outputs with the current burden of disease.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · International Journal of Epidemiology