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Takeaway food consumption and cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults



Takeaway food consumption is positively associated with adiposity. Little is known about the associations with other cardio-metabolic risk factors. This study aimed to determine whether takeaway food consumption is associated with fasting glucose, insulin, lipids, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) and blood pressure.


A national sample of 1896, 26–36 year olds completed a questionnaire on socio-demographics, takeaway food consumption, physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Waist circumference and blood pressure were measured, and a fasting blood sample was taken. For this analysis, takeaway food consumption was dichotomised to once a week or less and twice a week or more. Linear regression was used to calculate differences in the adjusted mean values for fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, HOMA and blood pressure. Models were adjusted for age, employment status, leisure time physical activity and TV viewing.


Compared with women who ate takeaway once a week or less, women who ate takeaway twice a week or more had significantly higher adjusted mean fasting glucose (4.82 vs 4.88 mmol/l, respectively; P=0.045), higher HOMA scores (1.27 vs 1.40, respectively, P=0.034) and tended to have a higher mean fasting insulin (5.95 vs 6.45 mU/l, respectively, P=0.054). Similar associations were observed for men for fasting insulin and HOMA score, but the differences were not statistically significant. For both women and men adjustment for waist circumference attenuated the associations.


Consuming takeaway food at least twice a week was associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors in women but less so in men. The effect of takeaway food consumption was attenuated when adjusted for obesity.

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We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the study's project manager, Marita Dalton, all other project staff and the study participants. This research was funded by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation, the Tasmanian Community Fund and Veolia Environmental Services. We gratefully thank the study sponsors Sanitarium, ASICS and Target. SM was supported by a National Heart Foundation of Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship and SG was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Public Health Postdoctoral Fellowship.


The funding bodies and sponsors had no input into the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

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Correspondence to K J Smith.

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Contributors: KS performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript, LB provided statistical support and critically revised the manuscript, SM provided nutritional advice and critically revised the manuscript, SG provided critical revision of the manuscript, TD was involved in the conceptualisation of the study and critically revised the manuscript and AV was involved in the conceptualisation of the study, acquired the data and critically revised the manuscript.

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Smith, K., Blizzard, L., McNaughton, S. et al. Takeaway food consumption and cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 577–584 (2012).

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