In urban, but not rural, areas of Madre de Dios, Peru, adoption of a Western diet is inversely associated with selenium intake.
Road development has been a major driver of the transition from traditional to calorie-dense processed 'Western' diets in lower and middle-income countries. The paving of the Interoceanic Highway (IOH) facilitated rapid development to the Madre de Dios (MDD) region in the Peruvian Amazon. As traditional foods such as Brazil nuts and fish are known to be rich in the essential micronutrient selenium, people further along the nutrition transition to a Western diet may have lower selenium (Se) intake. To test this hypothesis, in 2014 the Investigacion de Migracion, Ambiente, y Salud (IMAS Study) (Migration, Environment, and Health Study) collected household surveys from 310 households in 46 communities along the IOH and nails for Se analysis from 418 adults. Principal component analysis of 25 commonly consumed food items identified a factor resembling Western diet, which was used to calculate household Western diet weighted sum factor scores (WSFS). WSFS means were interpolated into a 10 km buffer around the IOH using inverse distance weighting. Western diet adoption was higher in urban compared to rural areas (p < 0.0001), and geographic variation was observed between mining and agricultural areas. Mean nail Se was 730 ng/g, SD 198 ng/g (range: 200-1390 ng/g). Generalized estimating equation (GEE) models assessed the association between food consumption and nail Se. Household chicken consumption was positively associated with Se in rural areas only. Urban/rural status modified the effect of western diet adoption on nail Se, and Se was inversely associated with WSFS in urban areas only. Conclusion: In urban, but not rural, areas of Madre de Dios, Peru, adoption of a Western diet is inversely associated with selenium intake. As the essential micronutrient selenium is a vital part of antioxidant proteins, lower intake could compound the chronic health effects that may result from transition to a calorie-dense diet.
Pettigrew, SM; Pan, WK; Berky, A; Harrington, J; Bobb, JF; Feingold, BJ
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