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author:("widal, Kurt")
1.  Dietary animal and plant protein intakes and their associations with obesity and cardio-metabolic indicators in European adolescents: the HELENA cross-sectional study 
Nutrition Journal  2015;14:10.
Background
Previous studies suggest that dietary protein might play a beneficial role in combating obesity and its related chronic diseases. Total, animal and plant protein intakes and their associations with anthropometry and serum biomarkers in European adolescents using one standardised methodology across European countries are not well documented.
Objectives
To evaluate total, animal and plant protein intakes in European adolescents stratified by gender and age, and to investigate their associations with cardio-metabolic indicators (anthropometry and biomarkers).
Methods
The current analysis included 1804 randomly selected adolescents participating in the HELENA study (conducted in 2006–2007) aged 12.5-17.5 y (47% males) who completed two non-consecutive computerised 24-h dietary recalls. Associations between animal and plant protein intakes, and anthropometry and serum biomarkers were examined with General linear Model multivariate analysis.
Results
Average total protein intake exceeded the recommendations of World Health Organization and European Food Safety Authority. Mean total protein intake was 96 g/d (59% derived from animal protein). Total, animal and plant protein intakes (g/d) were significantly lower in females than in males and total and plant protein intakes were lower in younger participants (12.5-14.9 y). Protein intake was significantly lower in underweight subjects and higher in obese ones; the direction of the relationship was reversed after adjustments for body weight (g/(kg.d)). The inverse association of plant protein intakes was stronger with BMI z-score and body fat percentage (BF%) compared to animal protein intakes. Additionally, BMI and BF% were positively associated with energy percentage of animal protein.
Conclusions
This sample of European adolescents appeared to have adequate total protein intake. Our findings suggest that plant protein intakes may play a role in preventing obesity among European adolescents. Further longitudinal studies are needed to investigate the potential beneficial effects observed in this study in the prevention of obesity and related chronic diseases.
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-14-10
PMCID: PMC4334414  PMID: 25609179
Protein intake; Adolescence; Body composition; Biomarkers; HELENA study
3.  Physical Activity Attenuates the Effect of Low Birth Weight on Insulin Resistance in Adolescents 
Diabetes  2011;60(9):2295-2299.
OBJECTIVE
To examine whether physical activity influences the association between birth weight and insulin resistance in adolescents.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The study comprised adolescents who participated in two cross-sectional studies: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study (n = 520, mean age = 14.6 years) and the Swedish part of the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS) (n = 269, mean age = 15.6 years). Participants had valid data on birth weight (parental recall), BMI, sexual maturation, maternal education, breastfeeding, physical activity (accelerometry, counts/minute), fasting glucose, and insulin. Insulin resistance was assessed by homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Maternal education level and breastfeeding duration were reported by the mothers.
RESULTS
There was a significant interaction of physical activity in the association between birth weight and HOMA-IR (logarithmically transformed) in both the HELENA study and the EYHS (P = 0.05 and P = 0.03, respectively), after adjusting for sex, age, sexual maturation, BMI, maternal education level, and breastfeeding duration. Stratified analyses by physical activity levels (below/above median) showed a borderline inverse association between birth weight and HOMA-IR in the low-active group (standardized β = −0.094, P = 0.09, and standardized β = −0.156, P = 0.06, for HELENA and EYHS, respectively), whereas no evidence of association was found in the high-active group (standardized β = −0.031, P = 0.62, and standardized β = 0.053, P = 0.55, for HELENA and EYHS, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS
Higher levels of physical activity may attenuate the adverse effects of low birth weight on insulin sensitivity in adolescents. More observational data, from larger and more powerful studies, are required to test these findings.
doi:10.2337/db10-1670
PMCID: PMC3161315  PMID: 21752955
4.  Clustering patterns of physical activity, sedentary and dietary behavior among European adolescents: The HELENA study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:328.
Background
Evidence suggests possible synergetic effects of multiple lifestyle behaviors on health risks like obesity and other health outcomes. A better insight in the clustering of those behaviors, could help to identify groups who are at risk in developing chronic diseases. This study examines the prevalence and clustering of physical activity, sedentary and dietary patterns among European adolescents and investigates if the identified clusters could be characterized by socio-demographic factors.
Methods
The study comprised a total of 2084 adolescents (45.6% male), from eight European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured using self-reported questionnaires and diet quality was assessed based on dietary recall. Based on the results of those three indices, cluster analyses were performed. To identify gender differences and associations with socio-demographic variables, chi-square tests were executed.
Results
Five stable and meaningful clusters were found. Only 18% of the adolescents showed healthy and 21% unhealthy scores on all three included indices. Males were highly presented in the cluster with high levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and low quality diets. The clusters with low levels of MVPA and high quality diets comprised more female adolescents. Adolescents with low educated parents had diets of lower quality and spent more time in sedentary activities. In addition, the clusters with high levels of MVPA comprised more adolescents of the younger age category.
Conclusion
In order to develop effective primary prevention strategies, it would be important to consider multiple health indices when identifying high risk groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-328
PMCID: PMC3112135  PMID: 21586158
5.  Relationship between self-reported dietary intake and physical activity levels among adolescents: The HELENA study 
Background
Evidence suggests possible synergetic effects of multiple lifestyle behaviors on health risks like obesity and other health outcomes. Therefore it is important to investigate associations between dietary and physical activity behavior, the two most important lifestyle behaviors influencing our energy balance and body composition. The objective of the present study is to describe the relationship between energy, nutrient and food intake and the physical activity level among a large group of European adolescents.
Methods
The study comprised a total of 2176 adolescents (46.2% male) from ten European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Dietary intake and physical activity were assessed using validated 24-h dietary recalls and self-reported questionnaires respectively. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to compare the energy and nutrient intake and the food consumption between groups of adolescents with different physical activity levels (1st to 3rd tertile).
Results
In both sexes no differences were found in energy intake between the levels of physical activity. The most active males showed a higher intake of polysaccharides, protein, water and vitamin C and a lower intake of saccharides compared to less active males. Females with the highest physical activity level consumed more polysaccharides compared to their least active peers. Male and female adolescents with the highest physical activity levels, consumed more fruit and milk products and less cheese compared to the least active adolescents. The most active males showed higher intakes of vegetables and meat, fish, eggs, meat substitutes and vegetarian products compared to the least active ones. The least active males reported the highest consumption of grain products and potatoes. Within the female group, significantly lower intakes of bread and cereal products and spreads were found for those reporting to spend most time in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The consumption of foods from the remaining food groups, did not differ between the physical activity levels in both sexes.
Conclusion
It can be concluded that dietary habits diverge between adolescents with different self-reported physical activity levels. For some food groups a difference in intake could be found, which were reflected in differences in some nutrient intakes. It can also be concluded that physically active adolescents are not always inclined to eat healthier diets than their less active peers.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-8
PMCID: PMC3045277  PMID: 21294914
6.  Suggestive evidence of associations between liver X receptor β polymorphisms with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity in three cohort studies: HUNT2 (Norway), MONICA (France) and HELENA (Europe) 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:144.
Background
The liver X receptors (LXR) α and β regulate lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis and inflammation. Lxrβ-/- mice are glucose intolerant and at the same time lean. We aimed to assess the associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in LXRβ and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obesity and related traits in 3 separate cohort studies.
Methods
Twenty LXRβ SNPs were identified by sequencing and genotyped in the HUNT2 adult nested case-control study for T2DM (n = 835 cases/1986 controls). Five tag-SNPs (rs17373080, rs2695121, rs56151148, rs2303044 and rs3219281), covering 99.3% of the entire common genetic variability of the LXRβ gene were identified and genotyped in the French MONICA adult study (n = 2318) and the European adolescent HELENA cross-sectional study (n = 1144). In silico and in vitro functionality studies were performed.
Results
We identified suggestive or significant associations between rs17373080 and the risk of (i) T2DM in HUNT2 (OR = 0.82, p = 0.03), (ii) obesity in MONICA (OR = 1.26, p = 0.05) and (iii) overweight/obesity in HELENA (OR = 1.59, p = 0.002). An intron 4 SNP (rs28514894, a perfect proxy for rs17373080) could potentially create binding sites for hepatic nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4α) and nuclear factor 1 (NF1). The C allele of rs28514894 was associated with ~1.25-fold higher human LXRβ basal promoter activity in vitro. However, no differences between alleles in terms of DNA binding and reporter gene transactivation by HNF4α or NF1 were observed.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that rs17373080 in LXRβ is associated with T2DM and obesity, maybe via altered LXRβ expression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-144
PMCID: PMC2958901  PMID: 20939869

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