DOI: 10.1177/01640275231222928 ISSN: 0164-0275

Associations Between Ultra-processed Food Consumption and Cardiometabolic Health Among Older US Adults: Comparing Older Asian Americans to Older Adults From Other Major Race-Ethnic Groups

Tali Elfassy, Filippa Juul, Robert A. Mesa, Latha Palaniappan, Malathi Srinivasan, Stella S. Yi
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health (social science)
  • Social Psychology

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001–2018; N = 19,602), this study examined whether ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption is associated with cardiometabolic health (obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes), among White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans (AA) US adults 50 or older. Diet was assessed using 24 hour dietary recall. NOVA dietary classification system was used to calculate the percentage of caloric intake derived from UPFs. Cardiometabolic information was assessed through physical examination, blood tests, and self-reported medication information. A median of 54% (IQR: 40%, 68%) of caloric intake was attributed to UPFs and was lowest for AAs (34%, IQR: 20%, 49%) and highest for White adults (56%; IQR: 42, 69%). In multivariable adjusted models, UPF consumption was associated with greater odds of obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. UPF consumption is associated with poor cardiometabolic health among all US older adults. For AAs, UPFs may be particularly obesogenic.

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