Food intake and inflammation in European children: the IDEFICS study

Esther M González-Gil, Javier Santabárbara, Paola Russo, Wolfgang Ahrens, Mandy Claessens, Lauren Lissner, Claudia Börnhorst, Vittorio Krogh, Licia Iacoviello, Denes Molnar, Alfonso Siani, Michael Tornaritis, Toomas Veidebaum, Luis A. Moreno

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PURPOSE: This cross-sectional study assesses the relationship between consumption frequencies of food items and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in European children.

METHODS: Out of the baseline sample (N = 16.228) of the IDEFICS study, 6.403 children (1.315 boys aged 2 to <6, 1.908 boys aged 6 to <10, 1.204 girls aged 2 to <6 and 1.976 girls aged 6 to <10 years) had hs-CRP measured and the Children's Eating Habits Questionnaire filled, including a food frequency questionnaire. Logistic regression adjusted for body mass index z-score, education of the mother, breast-feeding and self-reported hours of physical activity in a sport club per week was conducted.

RESULTS: Mean frequency intake of raw vegetable was lower in boys (p = 0.022 in young and p = 0.020 in old) and older girls (p = 0.026) with high hs-CRP concentration, while in younger girls (p = 0.008) the same occurred with the cooked vegetables. The probability of having higher hs-CRP concentration was significantly associated with having low consumption frequency of vegetables (p = 0.004 in older boys, raw vegetables; and p = 0.0032 in younger girls, cooked vegetables). Also, honey/jam intake decreased the probability of having higher concentration of hs-CRP, whereas soft drinks with sugar, mayonnaise and cereals milled increased this probability.

CONCLUSIONS: Out of all food items associated with hs-CRP, frequency intake of vegetables presented more associations across all the analysis. Findings suggest that a high-frequency intake of vegetables is inversely related to an inflammatory status in children. More studies are needed to assess the association between diet and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2459-2468
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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    González-Gil, E. M., Santabárbara, J., Russo, P., Ahrens, W., Claessens, M., Lissner, L., Börnhorst, C., Krogh, V., Iacoviello, L., Molnar, D., Siani, A., Tornaritis, M., Veidebaum, T., & Moreno, L. A. (2016). Food intake and inflammation in European children: the IDEFICS study. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(8), 2459-2468.