Since childhood, unhealthy dietary habits could trigger the onset of cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension. Aim of this school-based study was to identify the possible relation between dietary patterns, physical activity and anthropometric, hemodynamic (blood pressure, BP; pulse wave velocity, PWV) and gluco-lipid parameters.
A validated Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and a validated questionnaire assessing the degree of physical activity (PAQ-C) were administered to children attending the 3rd and 4th class of 4 primary schools. Children responded with the aid of their parents and a dedicated dietitian. From FFQ, composed by 15 categories for a total of 61 foods, nutritional content in term of energy and macro-nutrients intake was extrapolated. Also dietary patterns obtained by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) were identified. Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) were computed for each child from IPAQ.
hree-hundred and nine children between 8 and 11 years participated (74,8% response rate) of whose 302 (97,7%) children compiled the FFQ. Significant correlations were found between: “junk food” intake and BMI (rs = 0.141, p < 0.05), diastolic BP (rs = 0.114, p < 0.05); PWV (rs = 0.155, p < 0.001), triglycerides (rs = 0.150, p < 0.05); meat intake and diastolic BP (rs = 0.124, p < 0.05); vegetables intake and Z-score of diastolic BP (rs = −0.115, p < 0.05); “animal fats” intake and cholesterol (rs = 0.165, p < 0.05). PCA identifies three dietary patterns: one characterized by junk food, meat, sweet, cereals and tubers; one composed by fruits, vegetables and fish and legumes and one characterized by eggs. No significant correlation was found between physical activity and the analyzed parameters.
The significant correlation between some categories of food and anthropometric, vascular and gluco-lipid parameters in 8-11y children suggests that it is important to begin early with politics to prevent the onset of overt cardiovascular risk factors.
1University of Verona, Department of Medicine, Verona, Italy
2University of Verona, Department of Department of Surgery, Dentistry, Paediatrics and Gynaecology, Verona, Italy