Ultra-processed food consumption in Barbados: evidence from a nationally representative, cross-sectional study.

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Harris, Rachel M 
Rose, Angela MC 
Soares-Wynter, Suzanne 
Unwin, Nigel 

Our objective was to describe, for the first time in an English-speaking Caribbean country, the contribution of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) to nutrients linked to non-communicable disease. Using a cross-sectional study design, dietary data were collected from two non-consecutive 24-h dietary recalls. Recorded food items were then classified according to their degree of processing by the NOVA system. The present study took place in Barbados (2012-13). A representative population-based sample of 364 adult Barbadians (161 males and 203 females) aged 25-64 years participated in the study. UPFs represented 40⋅5 % (838 kcal/d; 95 % CI 791, 885) of mean energy intake. Sugar-sweetened beverages made the largest contribution to energy within the UPF category. Younger persons (25-44 years) consumed a significantly higher proportion of calories from UPF (NOVA group 4) compared with older persons (45-64 years). The mean energy shares of UPF ranged from 22⋅0 to 58⋅9 % for those in the lowest tertile to highest tertile. Within each tertile, the energy contribution was significantly higher in the younger age group (25-44 years) compared with the older (45-64 years). One-quarter of persons consume ≥50 % of their daily calories from UPF, this being significantly higher in younger persons. The ultra-processed diet fraction contained about six times the mean of free sugars and about 0⋅8 times the dietary fibre of the non-ultra-processed fraction (NOVA groups 1-3). Targeted interventions to decrease the consumption of UPF especially in younger persons is thus of high priority to improve the diet quality of Barbadians.

Barbados, CARICOM, Caribbean community and common market, CI, Confidence interval, CROSQ, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, DRs, Dietary recalls, Diet, HotN, Health of the Nation survey, NCDs, Non-communicable diseases, PAHO, Pan American Health Organization, SSBs, Sugar-sweetened beverages, Sugar-sweetened beverages, UPFs, ultra-processed foods, USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, Ultra-processed food, WHO, World Health Organization, Adult, Barbados, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Energy Intake, Fast Foods, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Noncommunicable Diseases, Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
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J Nutr Sci
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Cambridge University Press (CUP)
This work was supported by the Ministry of Health and Wellness of the Government of Barbados.