Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health (ELANS)
Abstract Background: Obesity is growing at an alarming rate in Latin America. Lifestyle behaviours such as physical activity and dietary intake have been largely associated with obesity in many countries; however studies that combine nutrition and physical activity assessment in representative samples of Latin American countries are lacking. The aim of this study is to present the design rationale of the Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health/Estudio Latinoamericano de Nutrición y Salud (ELANS) with a particular focus on its quality control procedures and recruitment processes. Methods/Design: The ELANS is a multicenter cross-sectional nutrition and health surveillance study of a nationally representative sample of urban populations from eight Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela). A standard study protocol was designed to evaluate the nutritional intakes, physical activity levels, and anthropometric measurements of 9000 enrolled participants. The study was based on a complex, multistage sample design and the sample was stratified by gender, age (15 to 65 years old) and socioeconomic level. A small-scale pilot study was performed in each country to test the procedures and tools. Discussion: This study will provide valuable information and a unique dataset regarding Latin America that will enable cross-country comparisons of nutritional statuses that focus on energy and macro- and micronutrient intakes, food patterns, and energy expenditure.