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Overweight and obesity: a review of their relationship to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in South America

Authors

  • Laura R Aballay,

    1. Escuela de Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
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  • Aldo R Eynard,

    1. Instituto Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
    2. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (INICSA-CONICET), Argentina
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  • María del Pilar Díaz,

    1. Escuela de Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
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  • Alicia Navarro,

    1. Escuela de Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
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  • Sonia E Muñoz

    Corresponding author
    1. Instituto Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
    • Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (INICSA-CONICET), Argentina
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  • Affiliations: LR Aballay, MP Díaz, and A Navarro are with the Escuela de Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina. AR Eynard and SE Muñoz are with the Instituto Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina, and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (INICSA-CONICET), Argentina.

Correspondence: SE Muñoz, Instituto de Biología Celular, Enrique Barros esq. Enfermera Gordillo, Ciudad Universitaria, Córdoba C.P. 5000, Argentina. E-mail: smunoz@cmefcm.uncor.edu. Phone: +54-351-4629530/+54-351-4334021. Cell: +54-9-351-5211100. Fax: +54-351-4334021.

Abstract

Socioeconomic and demographic transformations are occurring very rapidly in some areas of the world, especially in South America, and are accompanied by changes in lifestyle, dietary patterns, and the epidemiological profile of prevalent diseases. This review examines whether obesity and overweight are related to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in South America. Research carried out in more than 6,000 cases and controls was evaluated, along with most of the available publications related to South America. In South America, obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease are related mainly to aging, ethnicity effects, and preventable risky lifestyle conditions. Most of the studies that found an association between cancer and obesity are from the Southern Cone, the geographic area most affected by this pathology. Overall, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome was highest in Chile, followed in decreasing order by Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador, with differences noted between urban and rural areas or between urban and periurban areas. Obesity and cancer may be preventable, at least in part, by healthy behavior; hence, exercise, weight control, and healthy dietary habits are important to reduce the risk of these major chronic diseases.

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