Costa Rica

Study Site: San José, Costa Rica
Institution(s): Instituto Costarricense de Investigación y Enseñanza en Nutrición y Salud (INCIENSA)
Principal Investigator: Rafael Monge-Rojas

Costa Rica at a Glance


Area: 51,100 sq km
Population: 4,755,234
Median age: total 30 years
Urban population: 64% of total population
Life expectancy: male 75.59 yr; female 81.01 yr
Diabetes prevalence: 305,000 cases, 9.27% (national prevalence)
Per capita GDP: $12,900
Languages: Spanish (official), English

Costa Rican food often revolves around rice and beans, such as Gallo Pinto, a dish that translates to “Spotted Rooster”. Gallo Pinto is a dish that includes rice to beans at a three to one ratio. Also added are onions, garlic, and salt. Beans and rice dishes are usually served alongside a carrot and cabbage or lettuce and tomato salad.

On special occasions “arroz con camarones” or “arroz con pollo”, (fried shrimp or chicken), are found on the table instead of beans and rice. Meats are eaten sparingly, while beans provide a high content of fiber. Costa Rica food choices also include dairy or cheese. Other food staples include fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and a variety of beans and tubers, and fruits, including plantains.




The World Factbook, 2013-2014. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013.

IDF Diabetes Atlas, 6th Edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2014.