Latin American Nutrition and Health Study

The global epidemic of obesity in all age groups in developed and developing countries raised the need for large-scale multicentre studies on diet / lifestyle factors. However, studies that combine nutrition and the evaluation of physical activity in representative samples of Latin American countries are scarce.

These studies are essential to substantially improve our knowledge about the complex relationship between energy imbalance, obesity and chronic diseases associated with large scale and wider geographic heterogeneity.

Assessing dietary intake is an arduous task. Food intake is a complex phenomenon and its evaluation with the available tools is subject to errors inherent in the instruments themselves, as well as the interviewee and the interviewer. These errors, defined as systematic and random, must be known and controlled in order to generate more accurate and powerful data to reveal the risks associated with eating patterns.


ELANS is a cross-sectional, nutrition and health study of a nationally representative sample of urban populations in eight countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). A standard study protocol was designed to assess the nutritional intake, physical activity levels and anthropometric measurements of 9,000 registered participants. The study was based on a complex and multistage sample design and the sample was stratified by sex, age (15 to 65 years) and socioeconomic level.

In the case of Costa Rica, a database with the information of 798 people was built. Information is available on: nutritional status, socio-economic level, consumption of food, beverages and water, energy and nutrient intake, as well as other substances contained in food; among others.

General objetive:

Develop new analyzes for Costa Rica based on the ELANS database and promote the dissemination of this information through scientific articles and other forms of communication.

Specific objectives:

  • Establish the consumption of sugar and low calorie sweeteners (quantity and type) in CR according to nutritional status, age group, sex and socio-economic level.
  • Identify the foods that are consumed during the snacks as well as their energy and nutritional contribution to the daily diet and its relationship with the level of physical activity.
  • Demonstrate the level of physical activity of the population studied according to their nutritional status, age group, sex and socio-economic level.
  • Evaluate the level of consumption of pre-packaged products and ready-to-eat products that are part of the dietary pattern of CR, with respect to nutritional status, age group, gender and socio-economic level.
  • Establish Micronutrient Intake: Folic acid, Zinc, Vitamins A, D and E, according to nutritional status, age group, sex and socio-economic level.
  • Present the micronutrient analysis provided by the mandatory fortification and those provided by the industry in a non-mandatory manner.
  • Establish the pattern of consumption of dairy products according to the time of food nutritional status, age group, sex and socio-economic level.
  • Determine the level of exposure to chemical risk in basic grains, vegetables, fruits and fresh fruits not processed based on the food consumption of the Costa Rican population and according to their age and nutritional status.
  • Determine the pattern of food consumption of the Costa Rican population according to their nutritional status, age group and socio-economic level.


Main: Dr. Georgina Gómez Salas, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Costa Rica. Co-Chair of ELANS


Dr. Andrea Ramírez Sanabria, Nutritionist.
Dr. Daniela Guevara Villalobos, Nutritionist.
Dr. Fiorella Piedra León, Nutritionist.
Dr. Amed Sheik Oreamuno, Nutritionist.
Dr. Juan Carlos Brenes Sáenz, Statistician.

Start of the project: September 2017.

Progress in the project:

From October 15 to 20, 2017, the XXI International Nutrition Congress was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Dr. Georgina Gómez and the other principal investigators of the ELANS project had the opportunity to share with the attendees, Some of the results obtained for the 8 countries involved in the investigation.

During this session, Dr. Gómez conducted the presentation called “Nutritional Guidance in the Era of Globalized Markets,” which you can review here.

If you want to know the other presentations of this session, you can do it here.

From November 6 to 10, 2017, the National Week of Food Safety organized by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) was held for the first time in Costa Rica in order to promote good hygiene practices. the food.

Professor Georgina Gómez had the opportunity to present the results of the research called “Determination of the exposure to agrochemicals in the food of the GAM of Costa Rica”, this in collaboration with engineer Ing. Ivannia Morera, State Phytosanitary Service.

The presentations were made in the opening ceremony of the activity in the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and in the current reality seminar, challenges and opportunities in Food Safety for Costa Rica, organized by the Ministry of Health and brought to at the Costa Rican Institute of Research and Education in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA)

On January 23, 2018 at the Annual Meeting of ILSI in Southampton, Bermuda held the scientific session Science Serving Society where Professor Georgina Gómez and Professor Mauro Fisberg had the opportunity to present some of the results obtained for the 8 country involved in the ELANS investigation.

To learn more about this presentation, you can do it here.

The video of the presentation can see it here.

On February 6, at the scientific session of the Ordinary General Assembly of ILSI Mesoamerica, Professor Georgina Gómez presented the progress of the ELANS Costa Rica Phase II project.

Here, for the first time, some of the data requested by the partners were observed and discussed. previous months when this project started.

On March 22, 2018, the publication in Nutrients magazine of one of the scientific articles prepared from the research carried out in the eight countries of Latin America will be carried out.

Here is the article called Total and Added Sugar Intake: Assessment in Eight Latin American Countries.

On May 4, 2018, Dr. Georgina Gómez, with the support of Lic. Dayana Quesada, announced the results obtained in the analysis of the Consumption of Breads in the Costa Rican Urban Population.

On May 31, 2018, the publication in the journal Public Health Nutrition of another of the scientific articles produced from the research carried out in the eight countries of Latin America will be carried out.

The following is the study on Energy intake and food source of eight Latin America countries: results from the Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health (ELANS)