To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Olive oil (OO) polyphenols have been shown to improve HDL anti-atherogenic function, thus demonstrating beneficial effects against cardiovascular risk factors. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of extra virgin high polyphenol olive oil (HPOO) v. low polyphenol olive oil (LPOO) on the capacity of HDL to promote cholesterol efflux in healthy adults. In a double-blind, randomised cross-over trial, fifty participants (aged 38·5 (sd 13·9) years, 66 % females) were supplemented with a daily dose (60 ml) of HPOO (320 mg/kg polyphenols) or LPOO (86 mg/kg polyphenols) for 3 weeks. Following a 2-week washout period, participants crossed over to the alternate treatment. Serum HDL-cholesterol efflux capacity, circulating lipids (i.e. total cholesterol, TAG, HDL, LDL) and anthropometrics were measured at baseline and follow-up. No significant between-group differences were observed. Furthermore, no significant changes in HDL-cholesterol efflux were found within either the LPOO and HPOO treatment arms; mean changes were 0·54 % (95 % CI (0·29, 1·37)) and 0·10 % (95 % CI (0·74, 0·94)), respectively. Serum HDL increased significantly after LPOO and HPOO intake by 0·13 mmol/l (95 % CI (0·04, 0·22)) and 0·10 mmol/l (95 % CI (0·02, 0·19)), respectively. A small but significant increase in LDL of 0·14 mmol/l (95 % CI (0·001, 0·28)) was observed following the HPOO intervention. Our results suggest that additional research is warranted to further understand the effect of OO with different phenolic content on mechanisms of cholesterol efflux via different pathways in multi-ethnic populations with diverse diets.
Unhealthy diet is a modifiable risk factor leading to subclinical arterial damage (SAD), high BP and CVD. It was aimed to investigate the possible associations of dietary patterns (DPs) with SAD in adults having multiple CVD risk factors.
Dietary intake was evaluated through two 24-h dietary recalls and principal component analysis was used to identify DPs. Oscillometry, applanation tonometry with pulse wave analysis and carotid ultrasound were used to assess peripheral and aortic BP, arterial stiffness and pressure wave reflections.
Laiko University Hospital, Athens, Greece.
A total of 470 individuals (53·1 ± 14·2 years) with CVD risk factors were enrolled.
A pattern characterised by increased consumption of whole-grain cereals, white meat and reduced consumption of sugar was positively associated with common carotid compliance (β = 0·01, 95 % CI 0·00, 0·01), whereas a pattern high in refined cereals, red and processed meat was positively associated with brachial but not aortic systolic pressure (β = 1·76, 95 % CI 0·11, 3·42) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) (β = 1·18, 95 % CI 0·02, −2·38). Low consumption of low-fat dairy products, high consumption of full-fat cheese and butter was positively associated with MAP (β = 0·97, 95 % CI 0·01, 1·95). Increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, fresh juices, fish and seafood was inversely associated with augmentation index (AIx) (β = -1·01, 95 % CI -1·93, −0·09).
Consumption of whole grains, white meat, fruits/vegetables, fish/seafood and avoidance of sugar was associated with improved SAD. Preference in refined grains, red/processed meat, high-fat cheese/butter and low intake of low-fat dairy products were associated with BP elevation. Future studies are needed to confirm the present findings.
To examine the associations between the level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) with obesity, insulin resistance (IR), metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in schoolchildren.
The Healthy Growth Study was a large epidemiological cross-sectional study.
School children who were enrolled in primary schools in four counties covering the northern, southern, western and central part of Greece were invited to participate.
The study was conducted with a representative sample of 9–13-year-old schoolchildren (n 1972) with complete data. This study applied the KIDMed score to determine ‘poor’ (≤3), ‘medium’ (4-7) and ‘high’ (≥8) adherence of children to the MedDiet. The research hypothesis was examined using multivariate logistic regression models, controlling for potential confounders.
The percentage of children with ‘poor’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ adherence to the MedDiet was 64·8 %, 34·2 % and 1 %, respectively. Furthermore, the prevalence of obesity, IR and MetS was 11·6 %, 28·8 % and 3·4 %, respectively. Logistic regression analyses revealed that ‘poor’ adherence to the MedDiet was associated with an increased likelihood for central obesity (OR 1·31; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·73), hypertriglyceridaemia (OR 2·80; 95 % CI 1·05, 7·46) and IR (OR 1·31; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·64), even after adjusting for several potential confounders.
The present study showed that approximately two-thirds of the examined sample of schoolchildren in Greece have ‘poor’ adherence to the MedDiet, which also increases the likelihood for central obesity, hypertriglyceridaemia and IR. Prospective studies are needed to confirm whether these are cause–effect associations.
To examine the effect of the intervention implemented in the ToyBox-study on changes observed in age- and sex-specific BMI percentile and investigate the role of perinatal factors, parental perceptions and characteristics on this change.
A multicomponent, kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention with a cluster-randomised design. A standardised protocol was used to measure children’s body weight and height. Information was also collected from parents/caregivers via the use of validated questionnaires. Linear mixed effect models with random intercept for country, socio-economic status and school were used.
Selected preschools within the provinces of Oost-Flanders and West-Flanders (Belgium), Varna (Bulgaria), Bavaria (Germany), Attica (Greece), Mazowieckie (Poland) and Zaragoza (Spain).
A sample of 6268 preschoolers aged 3·5–5·5 years (51·9 % boys).
There was no intervention effect on the change in children’s BMI percentile. However, parents’ underestimation of their children’s actual weight status, parental overweight and mothers’ pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity were found to be significantly and independently associated with increases in children’s BMI percentile in multivariate modelling.
As part of a wide public health initiative or as part of a counseling intervention programme, it is important to assist parents/caregivers to correctly perceive their own and their children’s weight status. Recognition of excessive weight by parents/caregivers can increase their readiness to change and as such facilitate higher adherence to favourable behavioural changes within the family.
Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption has been associated with visceral fat partitioning in adults; however, the underlying mechanisms in childhood remain unclear and warrant exploration. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the association between SSB consumption and body fat in children aged 9–13 years and the potential modifying effect of children’s sex and serum cortisol levels. A sample of 2665 Greek schoolchildren participated in the ‘Healthy Growth Study’, and anthropometric, body composition, dietary intake and serum cortisol data were assessed. SSB consumption was defined as low (<1 serving/d), medium (1–2 servings/d) or high (>2 servings/d). We used linear regression models to assess the association between SSB consumption and measures of adiposity and to assess effect modification; models were stratified by sex and tertiles of morning serum cortisol. A significant positive association was observed between high SSB consumption and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) (β = 1·4, 95 % CI 0·4, 2·3, P = 0·01) but not BMI or BMI z-score. When stratified by sex, the association was observed in boys (β = 1·8, 95 % CI 0·3, 3·4, P = 0·02) but not in girls. When stratified by cortisol levels, SSB consumption was associated with VAT in children with cortisol levels in the lowest tertile (β = 2·8, 95 % CI 1·0, 4·6, P < 0·01). These results indicate that increased SSB consumption is associated with visceral adiposity in schoolchildren and this association may be modified by sex and morning serum cortisol. To prevent VAT accumulation and concomitant disease risk, dietary interventions should target SSB consumption during childhood.
(i) Describe the development of a multipurpose Cardio-Med survey tool (CMST) comprising a semi-quantitative FFQ designed to measure dietary intake in multicultural patients with or at high risk of CVD and (ii) report pilot evaluation of test–retest reliability and validity of the FFQ in measuring energy and nutrient intakes.
The CMST was developed to identify CVD risk factors and assess diet quality over 1 year using an FFQ. Design of the ninety-three-item FFQ involved developing food portion photographs, and a list of foods appropriate for the Australian multicultural population allowing the capture of adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern. The FFQ was administered twice, 2 weeks apart to assess test–retest reliability, whilst validity was assessed by comparison of the FFQ with a 3-d food record (3DFR).
The Northern Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
Thirty-eight participants aged 34–81 years with CVD or at high risk.
Test–retest reliability of the FFQ was good: intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) ranged from 0·52 (Na) to 0·88 (alcohol) (mean 0·79), with energy and 70 % of measured nutrients being above 0·75. Validity was moderate: ICC ranged from 0·08 (Na) to 0·94 (alcohol) (mean 0·59), with energy and 85 % of measured nutrients being above 0·5. Bland–Altman plots demonstrated good levels of agreement between the FFQ and 3DFR for carbohydrates, protein, alcohol, vitamin D and Na.
The CMST FFQ demonstrated good test–retest reliability and moderate validity for measuring dietary energy and nutrients in a multicultural Australian cardiology population.
Little is known about who would benefit from Internet-based personalised nutrition (PN) interventions. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics of participants who achieved greatest improvements (i.e. benefit) in diet, adiposity and biomarkers following an Internet-based PN intervention. Adults (n 1607) from seven European countries were recruited into a 6-month, randomised controlled trial (Food4Me) and randomised to receive conventional dietary advice (control) or PN advice. Information on dietary intake, adiposity, physical activity (PA), blood biomarkers and participant characteristics was collected at baseline and month 6. Benefit from the intervention was defined as ≥5 % change in the primary outcome (Healthy Eating Index) and secondary outcomes (waist circumference and BMI, PA, sedentary time and plasma concentrations of cholesterol, carotenoids and omega-3 index) at month 6. For our primary outcome, benefit from the intervention was greater in older participants, women and participants with lower HEI scores at baseline. Benefit was greater for individuals reporting greater self-efficacy for ‘sticking to healthful foods’ and who ‘felt weird if [they] didn’t eat healthily’. Participants benefited more if they reported wanting to improve their health and well-being. The characteristics of individuals benefiting did not differ by other demographic, health-related, anthropometric or genotypic characteristics. Findings were similar for secondary outcomes. These findings have implications for the design of more effective future PN intervention studies and for tailored nutritional advice in public health and clinical settings.
There is an increasing focus on lifestyle as a factor in the pathogenesis of mental health disorders; however, this has been relatively underexplored in child populations. This study aimed to assess the relationships between behavioural lifestyle factors and emotional functioning in a large, population-representative sample of schoolchildren in Greece.
A representative sample of 2,240 schoolchildren, aged 9–13 years, participated in the Healthy Growth Study during 2007–2010. Emotional functioning was measured using the Dartmouth COOP Functional Health Assessment charts/World Organization of Family Doctors Charts. A score of 3 or higher out of 5 indicated poorer emotional functioning. Participants self-reported dietary intake via three 24-h dietary recalls; fruit, vegetable and soft drink consumption were the dietary variables of interest. Participants’ self-reported daily time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, and watching TV or playing video games were used to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
In fully adjusted models, females were at a greater risk of experiencing impaired emotional functioning compared to males (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.44, 2.15, p < 0.01). Overweight/obesity compared to normal body weight (OR 1.52, 95%CI 1.31, 1.77, p < 0.01) was associated with poorer emotional functioning. Three hours or more of daily average physical activity compared to less than one hour (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.40, 0.86, p < 0.01) was associated with improved emotional functioning. Consuming soft drinks compared to non-consumption (OR 1.24, 95%CI 1.02, 1.51) was associated with poorer emotional functioning; this became non-significant after corrections for multiple comparisons were made. Clustering of municipalities was accounted for in all models.
Whilst findings were cross-sectional and causality cannot be inferred, this study highlights the interdependence of emotional and physical functioning in schoolchildren. This points to the potential for targeting shared risk factors for both physical chronic diseases and emotional and mental health conditions among children. Further longitudinal evidence will identify the potential for such shared intervention targets. Adopting a comprehensive, integrated approach to children’s emotional, mental, and physical health is warranted.
Traditionally, personalised nutrition was delivered at an individual level. However, the concept of delivering tailored dietary advice at a group level through the identification of metabotypes or groups of metabolically similar individuals has emerged. Although this approach to personalised nutrition looks promising, further work is needed to examine this concept across a wider population group. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to: (1) identify metabotypes in a European population and (2) develop targeted dietary advice solutions for these metabotypes. Using data from the Food4Me study (n 1607), k-means cluster analysis revealed the presence of three metabolically distinct clusters based on twenty-seven metabolic markers including cholesterol, individual fatty acids and carotenoids. Cluster 2 was identified as a metabolically healthy metabotype as these individuals had the highest Omega-3 Index (6·56 (sd 1·29) %), carotenoids (2·15 (sd 0·71) µm) and lowest total saturated fat levels. On the basis of its fatty acid profile, cluster 1 was characterised as a metabolically unhealthy cluster. Targeted dietary advice solutions were developed per cluster using a decision tree approach. Testing of the approach was performed by comparison with the personalised dietary advice, delivered by nutritionists to Food4Me study participants (n 180). Excellent agreement was observed between the targeted and individualised approaches with an average match of 82 % at the level of delivery of the same dietary message. Future work should ascertain whether this proposed method could be utilised in a healthcare setting, for the rapid and efficient delivery of tailored dietary advice solutions.
The current study was aiming to report the prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D status among schoolchildren in Greece and investigate the role of sex, urbanisation and seasonality on vitamin D status. A sample of 2386 schoolchildren (9–13 years old) from four distinct prefectures was examined. The prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration <30 and <50 nmol/l (vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency respectively) was 5·2 and 52·5 %, respectively. Girls had a higher prevalence of 25(OH)D<30 (7·2 v. 3·2 %) and 50 nmol/l (57·0 v. 48·0 %) than boys (P<0·001). The highest prevalence rates of 25(OH)D<30 and 50 nmol/l (9·1 and 73·1 %, respectively) were observed during spring (April to June), whereas the lowest (1·5 and 31·9 %, respectively) during autumn (October to December). The prevalence of 25(OH)D<50 nmol/l was higher in urban/semi-urban than rural regions, particularly during spring months (74·6 v. 47·2 %; P<0·001). Female sex, urban/semi-urban region of residence and spring months were found to increase the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, with the highest OR observed for spring months (7·47; 95 % CI 3·23, 17·3 and 5·14; 95 % CI 3·84, 6·89 for 25(OH)D<30 and 50 nmol/l respectively). In conclusion, despite the southerly latitude, the prevalence of low vitamin D status among primary schoolchildren in Greece is comparable to or exceeds the prevalence reported among children and adolescents on a European level. Sub-populations at highest risk are girls in urban/semi-urban areas during spring months, thus indicating the need for effective initiatives to support adequate vitamin D status in these population groups.
Individual response to dietary interventions can be highly variable. The phenotypic characteristics of those who will respond positively to personalised dietary advice are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to compare the phenotypic profiles of differential responders to personalised dietary intervention, with a focus on total circulating cholesterol. Subjects from the Food4Me multi-centre study were classified as responders or non-responders to dietary advice on the basis of the change in cholesterol level from baseline to month 6, with lower and upper quartiles defined as responder and non-responder groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between demographic and anthropometric profiles of the groups. Furthermore, with the exception of alcohol, there was no significant difference in reported dietary intake, at baseline. However, there were marked differences in baseline fatty acid profiles. The responder group had significantly higher levels of stearic acid (18 : 0, P=0·034) and lower levels of palmitic acid (16 : 0, P=0·009). Total MUFA (P=0·016) and total PUFA (P=0·008) also differed between the groups. In a step-wise logistic regression model, age, baseline total cholesterol, glucose, five fatty acids and alcohol intakes were selected as factors that successfully discriminated responders from non-responders, with sensitivity of 82 % and specificity of 83 %. The successful delivery of personalised dietary advice may depend on our ability to identify phenotypes that are responsive. The results demonstrate the potential use of metabolic profiles in identifying response to an intervention and could play an important role in the development of precision nutrition.
To identify possibly independent associations of perinatal, sociodemographic and lifestyle factors with childhood total and visceral body fat.
A representative sample of 2655 schoolchildren (9–13 years) participated in the Healthy Growth Study, a cross-sectional epidemiological study.
Seventy-seven primary schools in four large regions in Greece.
A sample of 1228 children having full data on total and visceral fat mass levels, as well as on anthropometric, dietary, physical activity, physical examination, socio-economic and perinatal indices, was examined.
Maternal (OR=3·03 and 1·77) and paternal obesity (OR=1·62 and 1·78), maternal smoking during pregnancy (OR=1·72 and 1·93) and rapid infant weight gain (OR=1·42 and 1·96) were significantly and positively associated with children’s increased total and visceral fat mass levels, respectively. Children’s television watching for >2 h/d (OR=1·40) and maternal pre-pregnancy obesity (OR=2·46) were associated with children’s increased total and visceral fat mass level, respectively. Furthermore, increased children’s physical activity (OR=0·66 and 0·47) were significantly and negatively associated with children’s total and visceral fat mass levels, respectively. Lastly, both father’s age >46 years (OR=0·57) and higher maternal educational level (OR=0·45) were associated with children’s increased total visceral fat mass level.
Parental sociodemographic characteristics, perinatal indices and pre-adolescent lifestyle behaviours were associated with children’s abnormal levels of total and visceral fat mass. Any future programme for childhood prevention either from the perinatal age or at late childhood should take these indices into consideration.
To characterise clusters of individuals based on adherence to dietary recommendations and to determine whether changes in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores in response to a personalised nutrition (PN) intervention varied between clusters.
Food4Me study participants were clustered according to whether their baseline dietary intakes met European dietary recommendations. Changes in HEI scores between baseline and month 6 were compared between clusters and stratified by whether individuals received generalised or PN advice.
Individuals in cluster 1 (C1) met all recommended intakes except for red meat, those in cluster 2 (C2) met two recommendations, and those in cluster 3 (C3) and cluster 4 (C4) met one recommendation each. C1 had higher intakes of white fish, beans and lentils and low-fat dairy products and lower percentage energy intake from SFA (P<0·05). C2 consumed less chips and pizza and fried foods than C3 and C4 (P<0·05). C1 were lighter, had lower BMI and waist circumference than C3 and were more physically active than C4 (P<0·05). More individuals in C4 were smokers and wanted to lose weight than in C1 (P<0·05). Individuals who received PN advice in C4 reported greater improvements in HEI compared with C3 and C1 (P<0·05).
The cluster where the fewest recommendations were met (C4) reported greater improvements in HEI following a 6-month trial of PN whereas there was no difference between clusters for those randomised to the Control, non-personalised dietary intervention.
To characterise participants who dropped out of the Food4Me Proof-of-Principle study.
The Food4Me study was an Internet-based, 6-month, four-arm, randomised controlled trial. The control group received generalised dietary and lifestyle recommendations, whereas participants randomised to three different levels of personalised nutrition (PN) received advice based on dietary, phenotypic and/or genotypic data, respectively (with either more or less frequent feedback).
Seven recruitment sites: UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Poland and Greece.
Adults aged 18–79 years (n 1607).
A total of 337 (21 %) participants dropped out during the intervention. At baseline, dropouts had higher BMI (0·5 kg/m2; P<0·001). Attrition did not differ significantly between individuals receiving generalised dietary guidelines (Control) and those randomised to PN. Participants were more likely to drop out (OR; 95 % CI) if they received more frequent feedback (1·81; 1·36, 2·41; P<0·001), were female (1·38; 1·06, 1·78; P=0·015), less than 45 years old (2·57; 1·95, 3·39; P<0·001) and obese (2·25; 1·47, 3·43; P<0·001). Attrition was more likely in participants who reported an interest in losing weight (1·53; 1·19, 1·97; P<0·001) or skipping meals (1·75; 1·16, 2·65; P=0·008), and less likely if participants claimed to eat healthily frequently (0·62; 0·45, 0·86; P=0·003).
Attrition did not differ between participants receiving generalised or PN advice but more frequent feedback was related to attrition for those randomised to PN interventions. Better strategies are required to minimise dropouts among younger and obese individuals participating in PN interventions and more frequent feedback may be an unnecessary burden.
The interplay between the fat mass- and obesity-associated (FTO) gene variants and diet has been implicated in the development of obesity. The aim of the present analysis was to investigate associations between FTO genotype, dietary intakes and anthropometrics among European adults. Participants in the Food4Me randomised controlled trial were genotyped for FTO genotype (rs9939609) and their dietary intakes, and diet quality scores (Healthy Eating Index and PREDIMED-based Mediterranean diet score) were estimated from FFQ. Relationships between FTO genotype, diet and anthropometrics (weight, waist circumference (WC) and BMI) were evaluated at baseline. European adults with the FTO risk genotype had greater WC (AAv. TT: +1·4 cm; P=0·003) and BMI (+0·9 kg/m2; P=0·001) than individuals with no risk alleles. Subjects with the lowest fried food consumption and two copies of the FTO risk variant had on average 1·4 kg/m2 greater BMI (Ptrend=0·028) and 3·1 cm greater WC (Ptrend=0·045) compared with individuals with no copies of the risk allele and with the lowest fried food consumption. However, there was no evidence of interactions between FTO genotype and dietary intakes on BMI and WC, and thus further research is required to confirm or refute these findings.
An efficient and robust method to measure vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) and 25-hydroxy vitamin D2 in dried blood spots (DBS) has been developed and applied in the pan-European multi-centre, internet-based, personalised nutrition intervention study Food4Me. The method includes calibration with blood containing endogenous 25(OH)D3, spotted as DBS and corrected for haematocrit content. The methodology was validated following international standards. The performance characteristics did not reach those of the current gold standard liquid chromatography-MS/MS in plasma for all parameters, but were found to be very suitable for status-level determination under field conditions. DBS sample quality was very high, and 3778 measurements of 25(OH)D3 were obtained from 1465 participants. The study centre and the season within the study centre were very good predictors of 25(OH)D3 levels (P<0·001 for each case). Seasonal effects were modelled by fitting a sine function with a minimum 25(OH)D3 level on 20 January and a maximum on 21 July. The seasonal amplitude varied from centre to centre. The largest difference between winter and summer levels was found in Germany and the smallest in Poland. The model was cross-validated to determine the consistency of the predictions and the performance of the DBS method. The Pearson’s correlation between the measured values and the predicted values was r 0·65, and the sd of their differences was 21·2 nmol/l. This includes the analytical variation and the biological variation within subjects. Overall, DBS obtained by unsupervised sampling of the participants at home was a viable methodology for obtaining vitamin D status information in a large nutritional study.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed association of a locus approximately 25b downstream of the TMEM18 gene with body mass and obesity. We utilized targeted re-sequencing of the body mass associated locus in proximity of TMEM18 in a case-control population of severely obese children and adolescents from the Stockholm area. We expanded our study to include the TMEM18 gene itself, with the aim of identifying body mass associated genetic variants. Sequencing was performed on the SOLiD platform, on long-range PCR fragments generated through targeted amplification of the regions of interest. Candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were validated by TaqMan genotyping. We were able to observe 131 SNPs across the re-sequenced regions. Chi squared tests comparing the allele frequencies between cases and controls revealed 57 SNPs as candidates for association with obesity. Validation and replication genotyping revealed robust associations for SNPs within the haplotype block region located downstream from the TMEM18 gene. This study provides a high resolution map of the genetic variation pattern in the TMEM18 gene, as well as the associated haplotype block, and further strengthens the association of variants within the proximal haplotype block with obesity and body mass.
Research suggests that repeatedly offering infants a variety of vegetables during weaning increases vegetable intake and liking. The effect may extend to novel foods. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of advising parents to introduce a variety of single vegetables as first foods on infants' subsequent acceptance of a novel vegetable. Mothers of 4- to 6-month-old infants in the UK, Greece and Portugal were randomised to either an intervention group (n 75), who received guidance on introducing five vegetables (one per d) as first foods repeated over 15 d, or a control group (n 71) who received country-specific ‘usual care’. Infant's consumption (g) and liking (maternal and researcher rated) of an unfamiliar vegetable were assessed 1 month post-intervention. Primary analyses were conducted for the full sample with secondary analyses conducted separately by country. No significant effect of the intervention was found for vegetable intake in the three countries combined. However, sub-group analyses showed that UK intervention infants consumed significantly more novel vegetable than control infants (32·8 (sd 23·6) v. 16·5 (sd 12·1) g; P =0·003). UK mothers and researchers rated infants' vegetable liking higher in the intervention than in control condition. In Portugal and Greece, there was no significant intervention effect on infants' vegetable intake or liking. The differing outcome between countries possibly reflects cultural variations in existing weaning practices. However, the UK results suggest in countries where vegetables are not common first foods, advice on introducing a variety of vegetables early in weaning may be beneficial for increasing vegetable acceptance.
To investigate the magnitude and country-specific differences in underestimation of children’s weight status by children and their parents in Europe and to further explore its associations with family characteristics and sociodemographic factors.
Children’s weight and height were objectively measured. Parental anthropometric and sociodemographic data were self-reported. Children and their parents were asked to comment on children’s weight status based on five-point Likert-type scales, ranging from ‘I am much too thin’ to ‘I am much too fat’ (children) and ‘My child’s weight is way too little’ to ‘My child’s weight is way too much’ (parents). These data were combined with children’s actual weight status, in order to assess underestimation of children’s weight status by children themselves and by their parents, respectively. Chi-square tests and multilevel logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the aims of the current study.
Eight European countries participating in the ENERGY (EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth) project.
A school-based survey among 6113 children aged 10–12 years and their parents.
In the total sample, 42·9 % of overweight/obese children and 27·6 % of parents of overweight/obese children underestimated their and their children’s weight status, respectively. A higher likelihood for this underestimation of weight status by children and their parents was observed in Eastern and Southern compared with Central/Northern countries. Overweight or obese parents (OR=1·81; 95 % CI 1·39, 2·35 and OR=1·78, 95 % CI 1·22, 2·60), parents of boys (OR=1·32; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·67) and children from overweight/obese (OR=1·60; 95 % CI 1·29, 1·98 and OR=1·76; 95 % CI 1·29, 2·41) or unemployed parents (OR=1·53; 95 % CI 1·22, 1·92) were more likely to underestimate children’s weight status.
Children of overweight or obese parents, those from Eastern and Southern Europe, boys, younger children and children with unemployed parents were more likely to underestimate their actual weight status. Overweight or obese parents and parents of boys were more likely to underestimate the actual weight status of their children. In obesity prevention such underestimation may be a barrier for behavioural change.