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Psychosocial stressors deriving from socioeconomic disadvantages in adolescents can result in higher metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk. We aimed to examine whether socioeconomic disadvantages were associated with MetS independent of lifestyle and whether there was a dose response relationship between the number of cumulated socioeconomic disadvantages and the risk of MetS.
Materials and Methods:
The present study included 1,037 European adolescents (aged 12.5–17.5) of the 3,528 total HELENA participants. Sociodemographic variables and lifestyle were assessed through self-reported questionnaires. Disadvantaged groups included adolescents with low educated parents, low family affluence, migrant origin, unemployed parents, and from non-traditional families. MetS score was calculated as the sum of sex- and age-specific z-scores of waist circumference, HOMA-IR index, mean of z-scores of diastolic and systolic blood pressure and mean of z-score of HDL-C multiplied by -1 and z-score of TG. A higher score indicates poor metabolic health. Linear mixed-effects models were used to study the association between social disadvantages and MetS risk score. Models were adjusted for sex, age, pubertal status (Tanner stage) and lifestyle (diet quality, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking status).
Adolescents with low educated mothers showed a higher MetS score (0.54 [0.09–0.98]; β [99% confidence interval]) compared to high-educated mothers. Adolescents who accumulated more than three disadvantages (0.69 [0.08–1.31]) or with missing information on disadvantages (0.72 [0.04–1.40]) had a higher MetS risk compared to non-socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Stronger associations between socioeconomic disadvantages and MetS were found in male in comparison with female adolescents.
Out of the studied socioeconomic disadvantages, maternal education is the most important determinant of adolescent's MetS risk independently of sex, age, Tanner stage, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet quality and physical activity. Social vulnerabilities (migrant background, unemployment status and belonging to a non-traditional family) were not associated with a higher MetS risk in European adolescents. However, we found a dose-response relationship between the number of factors related to social disadvantage and adolescents’ MetS risk with adolescents accumulating three or more socioeconomic disadvantages showing the highest risk. Stronger associations between socioeconomic disadvantages and MetS were found in male compared to female adolescents. Policy makers should focus on low educated families to tackle health disparities.
The present study aimed to explore the mediating role of family-related determinants on the effects of the ToyBox-intervention on pre-school children’s consumption of healthy and unhealthy snacks.
The ToyBox-intervention was a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention with a cluster-randomized design, aiming to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours to prevent obesity at pre-school age.
Kindergartens (n 309) in six European countries.
A total of 6290 pre-schoolers and their families participated in the ToyBox-intervention in 2012–2013 and data from 5212 pre-schoolers/families were included in the current analyses.
Even though the total effect of the ToyBox-intervention on healthy and unhealthy snacking was not significant, the ToyBox-intervention significantly improved parental rule setting on children’s unhealthy snack consumption (i.e. restriction of snacking while watching television and permission only at certain occasions) and parental consumption of unhealthy snacks, while it increased parental knowledge on snacking recommendations. Regarding healthy snacking, the ToyBox-intervention improved children’s attitude towards fruit and vegetables (F&V). All previously mentioned family-related determinants mediated the intervention effects on pre-schoolers’ consumption of healthy and unhealthy snacks. Almost all family-related determinants examined in the study were independently associated with pre-schoolers’ consumption of healthy and unhealthy snacks.
The intervention was effective in improving relevant family-related determinants. Interventions aiming to promote F&V consumption and limit the consumption of unhealthy snacks in pre-schoolers should target on these mediators, but also identify new family-, school- or peer-related determinants, to enhance their effectiveness.
To describe the design of the Feel4Diabetes-intervention and the baseline characteristics of the study sample.
School- and community-based intervention with cluster-randomized design, aiming to promote healthy lifestyle and tackle obesity and obesity-related metabolic risk factors for the prevention of type 2 diabetes among families from vulnerable population groups. The intervention was implemented in 2016–2018 and included: (i) the ‘all-families’ component, provided to all children and their families via a school- and community-based intervention; and (ii) an additional component, the ‘high-risk families’ component, provided to high-risk families for diabetes as identified with a discrete manner by the FINDRISC questionnaire, which comprised seven counselling sessions (2016–2017) and a text-messaging intervention (2017–2018) delivered by trained health professionals in out-of-school settings. Although the intervention was adjusted to local needs and contextual circumstances, standardized protocols and procedures were used across all countries for the process, impact, outcome and cost-effectiveness evaluation of the intervention.
Primary schools and municipalities in six European countries.
Families (primary-school children, their parents and grandparents) were recruited from the overall population in low/middle-income countries (Bulgaria, Hungary), from low socio-economic areas in high-income countries (Belgium, Finland) and from countries under austerity measures (Greece, Spain).
The Feel4Diabetes-intervention reached 30 309 families from 236 primary schools. In total, 20 442 families were screened and 12 193 ‘all families’ and 2230 ‘high-risk families’ were measured at baseline.
The Feel4Diabetes-intervention is expected to provide evidence-based results and key learnings that could guide the design and scaling-up of affordable and potentially cost-effective population-based interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
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.
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