Obesity and other noncommunicable disease risk factors are increasing in low- and middle-income countries

Vorster and colleagues assessed the relationship between added sugar intake and noncommunicable disease risk factors in an African cohort study. Added sugars were defined as all monosaccharides and di-saccharides added to foods and beverages during processing, cooking, and at the table.

The study was a 5-year follow-up of a cohort of 2010 urban and rural men and women aged 30–70 y of age at recruitment in 2005 from the North West Province in South Africa.

Added sugar intake, particularly in rural areas, has increased rapidly in the past 5 years. In rural areas, the proportion of adults who consumed sucrose-sweetened beverages approximately doubled (for men, from 25% to 56%; for women, from 33% to 63%) in the past 5 years.

This cohort showed dramatic increases in added sugars and sucrose-sweetened beverage consumption in both urban and rural areas. Increased consumption was associated with increased noncommunicable diseaseΒ risk factors. In addition, the study showed that the nutrition transition has reached a remote rural area in South Africa. Urgent action is needed to address these trends.

Am J Clin Nutr. June 2014, vol. 99 no. 6, 1479-1486.