Changes in the Retail Food Environment in Mexican Cities and Their Association with Blood Pressure Outcomes
Lovasi, Gina S.
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Shifting food environments in Latin America have potentially contributed to an increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, along with decreases in healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Yet, little is known about the impact that such changes in the food environment have on blood pressure in low- and middle-income countries, including Mexico. We utilized individual-level systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP) measures from the 2016 Mexican Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT, n = 2798 adults). Using an inventory of food stores based on the economic census for 2010 and 2016, we calculated the change in the density of fruit and vegetable stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Multilevel regression was used to estimate the association between the 2010–2016 food environment neighborhood-level changes with individual-level blood pressure measured in 2016. Declines in neighborhood-level density of fruit and vegetable stores were associated with higher individual SBP (2.67 mmHg, 95% CI: 0.1, 5.2) in unadjusted models, and marginally associated after controlling for individual-level and area-level covariates. Increases in the density of supermarkets were associated with higher blood pressure outcomes among adults with undiagnosed hypertension. Structural interventions targeting the retail food environment could potentially contribute to better nutrition-related health outcomes in Latin American cities.