Correlates of overall and central obesity in adults from seven European countries: findings from the Food4Me Study

Abstract

Background/objectives

To identify predictors of obesity in adults and investigate to what extent these predictors are independent of other major confounding factors.

Subjects/methods

Data collected at baseline from 1441 participants from the Food4Me study conducted in seven European countries were included in this study. A food frequency questionnaire was used to measure dietary intake. Accelerometers were used to assess physical activity levels (PA), whereas participants self-reported their body weight, height and waist circumference via the internet.

Results

The main factors associated (p < 0.05) with higher BMI per 1-SD increase in the exposure were age (β:1.11 kg/m2), intakes of processed meat (β:1.04 kg/m2), red meat (β:1.02 kg/m2), saturated fat (β:0.84 kg/m2), monounsaturated fat (β:0.80 kg/m2), protein (β:0.74 kg/m2), total energy intake (β:0.50 kg/m2), olive oil (β:0.36 kg/m2), sugar sweetened carbonated drinks (β:0.33 kg/m2) and sedentary time (β:0.73 kg/m2). In contrast, the main factors associated with lower BMI per 1-SD increase in the exposure were PA (β:−1.36 kg/m2), intakes of wholegrains (β:−1.05 kg/m2), fibre (β:−1.02 kg/m2), fruits and vegetables (β:−0.52 kg/m2), nuts (β:−0.52 kg/m2), polyunsaturated fat (β:−0.50 kg/m2), Healthy Eating Index (β:−0.42 kg/m2), Mediterranean diet score (β:−0.40 kg/m2), oily fish (β:−0.31 kg/m2), dairy (β:−0.31 kg/m2) and fruit juice (β:−0.25 kg/m2).

Conclusions

These findings are important for public health and suggest that promotion of increased PA, reducing sedentary behaviours and improving the overall quality of dietary patterns are important strategies for addressing the existing obesity epidemic and associated disease burden.

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Acknowledgements

The Food4me randomised controlled trial was funded by the European Commission under the Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development [265494].

Author contributions

Author responsibilities were as follows: CCM, KML, AA, JCM performed the statistical analysis and wrote the manuscript. YM, IT, CAD, ERG, LB, JAL, JAM, WHS, HD, MG and JCM contributed to the research design. JCM was the Food4Me Proof of Principle study leader. CCM, CFMM, HF, CBO, CW, ALM, RF, SNC, RSC, CPL, MG, MCW, ERG, LB and JCM contributed to the developing of the Standardised Operating Procedures for the study. CCM, SNC, RSC, CW, CBO, HF, CFMM, AM, RF, CPL, MG, IT, MCW and JCM conducted the intervention. CCM, CFMM and WHS contributed to physical activity measurements.

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Correspondence to John C. Mathers.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Carlos Celis-Morales and Katherine M. Livingstone contributed equally to this work

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Celis-Morales, C., Livingstone, K.M., Affleck, A. et al. Correlates of overall and central obesity in adults from seven European countries: findings from the Food4Me Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 207–219 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-017-0004-y

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