Diet quality and cardiometabolic health in childhood: the Generation R Study

Noreen Z. Siddiqui, Anh N. Nguyen, Susana Santos, Trudy Voortman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Diet is an important determinant of cardiometabolic disease risk in adults. We aimed to study associations of diet quality with cardiometabolic health in school-age children.

This study was embedded in the Generation R Study a prospective population-based cohort in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and included 3991 children. Food intake was assessed with a Food-Frequency Questionnaire at age 8 years. A diet quality score (0–10) was calculated reflecting adherence to age-specific dietary guidelines. The following outcome variables were measured at age 10 years and used to create a continuous cardiometabolic risk factor score: body fat percentage, insulin, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Outcomes were expressed in age- and sex-specific standard deviation scores (SDS). Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess associations between the diet quality score and the cardiometabolic risk factor score and with the individual cardiometabolic risk factors.

In models adjusted for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors and BMI, a higher diet quality was associated with a lower cardiometabolic risk factor score [− 0.08 per point higher diet score, (95% CI − 0.15, − 0.001)]. This association was mainly driven by associations of higher diet quality with lower systolic [− 0.04 SD (95% CI − 0.06, − 0.01)] and diastolic blood pressure [− 0.05 SD, (95% CI − 0.07, − 0.02)]. No statistically significant associations were found for insulin, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, or body fat percentage as individual factors.

We found an association between higher diet quality and better cardiometabolic health in childhood, mainly driven by a lower blood pressure. Further research is needed to explore associations of diet quality in childhood with long-term cardiometabolic health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Generation R study is financially supported by Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sports, and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). The funders had no role in the design of the study, data collection and analyses, interpretation of the data, writing and/or reviewing, and decision to submit this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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