Mexico has a high prevalence of stunting in children and adolescents, due to poor nutrition. Paradoxically, too many Mexican children and adolescents are currently overweight or obese (OW/OB). The dual-burden of stunting (low height for age) and OW/OB are nutritional conditions that increase the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases in adulthood. The persistence of high levels of stunting in southern regions of Mexico, such as Yucatan, may be due to diet changes (nutrition transition) that Yucatecan population has experienced in recent years. Vitamins, such as folic acid (FA) and VB12 are micronutrients necessary for normal metabolism and growth. The relationships between the intake of these micronutrients and growth rate were identified. The impact of micronutrient consumption on body composition was also investigated. The sample population comprised 273 adolescents (152 females) aged 10-18 years, from Merida, Mexico. Dietary information was obtained using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) covering 106 local foods. Anthropometric and body composition measurements were taken, and socioeconomic data were gathered. Data were collected between September 2011 and July 2012. Over 50% of participants had inadequate consumption of both vitamins: 64% had inadequate intake of FA and 69% of VB12. Almost half (46.9%) were either short or stunted, and 33% were at risk of OW/OB. A higher risk of presenting OW/OB was found for participants with FA intake less than the RDI of 400 µg/day and for those with VB12 intake less than the RDI of 2.4 µg/day. No relationship was found between body fat percentage and the consumption of FA or VB12.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.