In affluent countries, children from non-native ethnicity have in general less favourable body composition indicators and energy balance-related behaviors (EBRBs) than children from native ethnicity. However, differences between countries have been reported.
A school-based survey among 10–12 years old children was conducted in seven European countries with a standardized protocol. Weight, height and waist circumference were measured; engagement in EBRBs was self-reported. For those countries with significant ethnic differences in body composition (Greece and the Netherlands), multilevel mediation analyses were conducted, to test the mediating effect of the EBRBs in the association between ethnic background and body composition indicators. Analyses were adjusted for gender and age, and for parental education in a later step. Partial mediation was found for sugared drinks intake and sleep duration in the Greek sample, and breakfast in the Dutch sample. A suppression effect was found for engagement in sports activites in the Greek sample.
Ethnic differences in children’s body composition were partially mediated by differences in breakfast skipping in the Netherlands and sugared drinks intake, sports participation and sleep duration in Greece.
Neuromedin U, encoded by the NMU gene, is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that regulates both energy metabolism and bone mass. The beta-2 adrenergic receptor, encoded by the ADRB2 gene, mediates several effects of catecholamine hormones and neurotransmitters in bone. We investigated whether NMU single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes, as well as functional ADRB2 SNPs, are associated with bone stiffness in children from the IDEFICS cohort, also evaluating whether NMU and ADRB2 interact to affect this trait. A sample of 2,274 subjects (52.5% boys, age 6.2±1.8 years) from eight European countries, having data on calcaneus bone stiffness index (SI, mean of both feet) and genotyping (NMU gene: rs6827359, rs12500837, rs9999653; ADRB2 gene: rs1042713, rs1042714), was studied. After false discovery rate adjustment, SI was significantly associated with all NMU SNPs. rs6827359 CC homozygotes showed the strongest association (recessive model, Δ = −1.8, p = 0.006). Among the five retrieved haplotypes with frequencies higher than 1% (range 2.0–43.9%), the CCT haplotype (frequency = 39.7%) was associated with lower SI values (dominant model, Δ = −1.0, p = 0.04) as compared to the most prevalent haplotype. A non-significant decrease in SI was observed in in ADRB2 rs1042713 GG homozygotes, while subjects carrying SI-lowering genotypes at both SNPs (frequency = 8.4%) showed much lower SI than non-carriers (Δ = −3.9, p<0.0001; p for interaction = 0.025). The association was more evident in preschool girls, in whom SI showed a curvilinear trend across ages. In subgroup analyses, rs9999653 CC NMU or both GG ADRB2 genotypes were associated with either lower serum calcium or β-CrossLaps levels (p = 0.01). This study in European children shows, for the first time in humans, a role for NMU gene through interaction with ADRB2 gene in bone strength regulation, more evident in preschool girls.
The relevance of physical activity (PA) for combating cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in children has been highlighted, but to date there has been no large-scale study analyzing that association in children aged ≤9 years of age. This study sought to evaluate the associations between objectively-measured PA and clustered CVD risk factors in a large sample of European children, and to provide evidence for gender-specific recommendations of PA.
Cross-sectional data from a longitudinal study in 16,224 children aged 2 to 9 were collected. Of these, 3,120 (1,016 between 2 to 6 years, 2,104 between 6 to 9 years) had sufficient data for inclusion in the current analyses. Two different age-specific and gender-specific clustered CVD risk scores associated with PA were determined. First, a CVD risk factor (CRF) continuous score was computed using the following variables: systolic blood pressure (SBP), total triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC)/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) ratio, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and sum of two skinfolds (score CRFs). Secondly, another CVD risk score was obtained for older children containing the score CRFs + the cardiorespiratory fitness variable (termed score CRFs + fit). Data used in the current analysis were derived from the IDEFICS (‘Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS’) study.
In boys <6 years, the odds ratios (OR) for CVD risk were elevated in the least active quintile of PA (OR: 2.58) compared with the most active quintile as well as the second quintile for vigorous PA (OR: 2.91). Compared with the most active quintile, older children in the first, second and third quintiles had OR for CVD risk score CRFs + fit ranging from OR 2.69 to 5.40 in boys, and from OR 2.85 to 7.05 in girls.
PA is important to protect against clustering of CVD risk factors in young children, being more consistent in those older than 6 years. Healthcare professionals should recommend around 60 and 85 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous PA, including 20 min/day of vigorous PA.
Please see related commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/173.
Accelerometers; Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Physical activity; Younger children
Physical activity (PA) is suggested to contribute to fat loss not only through increasing energy expenditure “per se” but also increasing muscle mass; therefore, it would be interesting to better understand the specific associations of PA with the different body’s components such as fat mass and muscle mass. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between objectively measured PA and indices of fat mass and muscle components independently of each other giving, at the same time, gender-specific information in a wide cohort of European adolescents.
A cross-sectional study in a school setting was conducted in 2200 (1016 males) adolescents (14.7 ±1.2 years). Weight, height, skinfold thickness, bioimpedance and PA (accelerometry) were measured. Indices of fat mass (body mass index, % fat mass, sum of skinfolds) and muscular component (assessed as fat-free mass) were calculated. Multiple regression analyses were performed adjusting for several confounders including fat-free mass and fat mass when possible.
Vigorous PA was positively associated with height (p < 0.05) in males, whilst, vigorous PA, moderate-vigorous PA and average PA were negatively associated with all the indices of fat mass (all p < 0.01) in both genders, except for average PA in relation with body mass index in females. Regarding muscular components, vigorous PA showed positive associations with fat-free mass and muscle mass (all p < 0.05) in both genders. Average PA was positively associated with fat-free mass (both p < 0.05) in males and females.
The present study suggests that PA, especially vigorous PA, is negatively associated with indices of fat mass and positively associated with markers of muscle mass, after adjusting for several confounders (including indices of fat mass and muscle mass when possible). Future studies should focus not only on the classical relationship between PA and fat mass, but also on PA and muscular components, analyzing the independent role of both with the different PA intensities.
Physical activity; Fat mass; Muscular components; Adolescence
Obesity, mainly childhood obesity, is a worldwide concern. Childhood obesity continues to adulthood, and it is associated with multiple noncommunicable diseases. One important aspect in the fight against obesity is prevention, the earlier, the better. Social marketing is a novel concept being increasingly used as an approach to address social problems and more and more included in the community-based interventions aiming to change unhealthy behaviors. Although there is limited evidence of its effectiveness, it seems that when conscientiously applied, social marketing principles may be useful to change behaviors and thus better health outcomes.
It is well known that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is considerably higher among youth from lower socio-economic families, but there is little information about the role of some energy balance-related behaviors in the association between socio-economic status and childhood overweight and obesity. The objective of this paper was to assess the possible mediation role of energy balance-related behaviors in the association between parental education and children’s body composition.
Data were obtained from the cross sectional study of the “EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth” (ENERGY) project. 2121 boys and 2516 girls aged 10 to 12 from Belgium, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain were included in the analyses. Data were obtained via questionnaires assessing obesity related dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviors and basic anthropometric objectively measured indicators (weight, height, waist circumference). The possible mediating effect of sugared drinks intake, breakfast consumption, active transportation to school, sports participation, TV viewing, computer use and sleep duration in the association between parental education and children’s body composition was explored via MacKinnon’s product-of-coefficients test in single and multiple mediation models. Two different body composition indicators were included in the models, namely Body Mass Index and waist circumference.
The association between parental education and children’s body composition was partially mediated by breakfast consumption, sports participation, TV viewing and computer use. Additionally, a suppression effect was found for sugared drinks intake. No mediation effect was found for active transportation and sleep duration. The significant mediators explained a higher proportion of the association between parental education and waist circumference compared to the association between parental education and BMI.
Tailored overweight and obesity prevention strategies in low SES preadolescent populations should incorporate specific messages focusing on the importance of encouraging daily breakfast consumption, increasing sports participation and decreasing TV viewing and computer use. However, longitudinal research to support these findings is needed.
Mediation analysis; Body composition; Parental education; Childhood obesity; Energy balance-related behaviors
Whereas cross‐sectional studies have shown that obesity is associated with increased C‐reactive protein (CRP) levels in children, little is known about the impact of low‐grade inflammation on body mass changes during growth.
Methods and Results
We assessed cross‐sectionally and longitudinally the association of high‐sensitivity (hs)‐CRP levels with overweight/obesity and related cardiometabolic risk factors in the Identification and prevention of Dietary‐ and lifestyle‐induced health Effects in Children and InfantS (IDEFICS) cohort. 16 224 children from 8 European countries (2 to 9 years) were recruited during the baseline survey (T0). After the exclusion of 7187 children because of missing hs‐CRP measurements and 2421 because of drug use during the previous week, the analysis was performed on 6616 children (Boys=3347; Girls=3269; age=6.3±1.7 years). Of them, 4110 were reexamined 2 years later (T1). Anthropometric variables, blood pressure, hs‐CRP, blood lipids, glucose and insulin were measured. The population at T0 was divided into 3 categories, according to the baseline hs‐CRP levels. Higher hs‐CRP levels were associated with significantly higher prevalence of overweight/obesity, body mass index (BMI) z‐score and central adiposity indices (P values all <0.0001), and with higher blood pressure and lower HDL‐cholesterol levels. Over the 2‐year follow‐up, higher baseline hs‐CRP levels were associated with a significant increase in BMI z‐score (P<0.001) and significantly higher risk of incident overweight/obesity.
Higher hs‐CRP levels are associated to higher body mass and overweight/obesity risk in a large population of European children. Children with higher baseline levels of hs‐CRP had a greater increase in BMI z‐score and central adiposity over time and were at higher risk of developing overweight/obesity during growth.
C‐reactive protein; inflammation; pediatric obesity; population
To assess the association of eating meals, and never watching TV while eating meals, with weight status among children, ages 10–12 years across Europe.
7915 children (mean age: 11.5 years) in eight European countries (Belgium, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland) completed a questionnaire at school. Data on meals eaten the day before questionnaire administration and the frequency of eating meals while watching TV were collected. Height and weight of the children were objectively assessed. Multinomial and binary regression analyses were conducted to test associations of eating meals (adjusted for gender and ethnicity) and never watching TV while eating meals (adjusted for gender, ethnicity and total TV time) with overweight/obesity, and to test for country- and socio-demographic differences.
The proportions of children reporting eating breakfast, lunch and dinner were 85%, 96%, and 93% respectively, and 55%, 46% and 32% reported to never watch TV at breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively. The children who ate breakfast (OR = 0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.7)) and dinner (OR = 0.4 (95% CI 0.3-0.5)), had lower odds of being overweight compared to those who did not. The children who never watched TV at lunch (OR = 0.7 (95% CI 0.7-0.8)) and dinner (OR = 0.8 (95% CI 0.7-0.9)) had lower odds of being overweight compared to those who watched TV at the respective meals.
The odds of being overweight was lower for children who ate breakfast and dinner compared to those who did not eat the respective meals. The odds of being overweight was lower for children who reported to never watch TV at lunch and dinner compared to those who did. A focus towards meal frequency and watching TV during meals in longitudinal and interventions studies in prevention of overweight and obesity, may contribute to a better understanding of causality.
Children; Weight status; Meals; Breakfast; TV viewing; Never TV at meals
Sport participation makes an important contribution to children’s overall physical activity. Understanding influences on sports participation is important and the family environment is considered key, however few studies have explored the mechanisms by which the family environment influences children’s sport participation. The purpose of this study was to examine whether attitude, perceived behavioural control, health belief and enjoyment mediate associations between the family environment and 10–12 year-old children’s sports participation.
Children aged 10–12 years ( = 7234) and one of their parents (n = 6002) were recruited from 175 schools in seven European countries in 2010. Children self-reported their weekly duration of sports participation, physical activity equipment items at home and the four potential mediator variables. Parents responded to items on financial, logistic and emotional support, reinforcement, modelling and co-participation in physical activity. Cross-sectional single and multiple mediation analyses were performed for 4952 children with complete data using multi-level regression analyses.
Availability of equipment (OR = 1.16), financial (OR = 1.53), logistic (OR = 1.47) and emotional (OR = 1.51) support, and parental modelling (OR = 1.07) were positively associated with participation in ≥ 30mins/wk of sport. Attitude, beliefs, perceived behavioural control and enjoyment mediated and explained between 21-34% of these associations. Perceived behavioural control contributed the most to the mediated effect for each aspect of the family environment.
Both direct (unmediated) and indirect (mediated) associations were found between most family environment variables and children’s sports participation. Thus, family-based physical activity interventions that focus on enhancing the family environment to support children’s sport participation are warranted.
Sport; Physical activity; Children; Family; Home; Determinants; Mediation; Cognitions
Recent research and literature reviews show that, among schoolchildren, some specific energy balance-related behaviors (EBRBs) are relevant for overweight and obesity prevention. It is also well known that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is considerably higher among schoolchildren from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This study examines whether sugared drinks intake, physical activity, screen time and usual sleep duration cluster in reliable and meaningful ways among European children, and whether the identified clusters could be characterized by parental education.
The cross-sectional study comprised a total of 5284 children (46% male), from seven European countries participating in the ENERGY-project (“EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth”). Information on sugared drinks intake, physical activity, screen time and usual sleep duration was obtained using validated self-report questionnaires. Based on these behaviors, gender-specific cluster analysis was performed. Associations with parental education were identified using chi-square tests and odds ratios.
Five meaningful and stable clusters were found for both genders. The cluster with high physical activity level showed the highest proportion of participants with highly educated parents, while clusters with high sugared drinks consumption, high screen time and low sleep duration were more prevalent in the group with lower educated parents. Odds ratio showed that children with lower educated parents were less likely to be allocated in the active cluster and more likely to be allocated in the low activity/sedentary pattern cluster.
Children with lower educated parents seemed to be more likely to present unhealthier EBRBs clustering, mainly characterized by their self-reported time spent on physical activity and screen viewing. Therefore, special focus should be given to lower educated parents and their children in order to develop effective primary prevention strategies.
Energy balance-related behaviors; ENERGY; Children; Parental education; Cluster analysis
Cycling is considered to be a highly beneficial sport for significantly enhancing cardiovascular fitness in individuals, yet studies show little or no corresponding improvements in bone mass.
A scientific literature search on studies discussing bone mass and bone metabolism in cyclists was performed to collect all relevant published material up to April 2012. Descriptive, cross-sectional, longitudinal and interventional studies were all reviewed. Inclusion criteria were met by 31 studies.
Heterogeneous studies in terms of gender, age, data source, group of comparison, cycling level or modality practiced among others factors showed minor but important differences in results. Despite some controversial results, it has been observed that adult road cyclists participating in regular training have low bone mineral density in key regions (for example, lumbar spine). Conversely, other types of cycling (such as mountain biking), or combination with other sports could reduce this unsafe effect. These results cannot yet be explained by differences in dietary patterns or endocrine factors.
From our comprehensive survey of the current available literature it can be concluded that road cycling does not appear to confer any significant osteogenic benefit. The cause of this may be related to spending long hours in a weight-supported position on the bike in combination with the necessary enforced recovery time that involves a large amount of time sitting or lying supine, especially at the competitive level.
cyclists; osteopenia; osteoporosis; sport; training
Children are not always recognized as being susceptible to stress, although childhood stressors may originate from multiple events in their everyday surroundings with negative effects on children’s health.
As there is a lack of large-scale, European prevalence data on childhood adversities, this study presents the prevalence of (1) negative life events and (2) familial and social adversities in 4637 European pre- and primary-school children (4–11 years old), using a parentally-reported questionnaire embedded in the IDEFICS project (‘Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS’).
The following findings were observed: (1) Certain adversities occur only rarely, while others are very regular (i.e. parental divorce); (2) A large percentage of children is shielded from stressors, while a small group of children is exposed to multiple, accumulating adversities; (3) The prevalence of childhood adversity is influenced by geographical location (e.g. north versus south), age group and sex; (4) Childhood adversities are associated and co-occur, resulting in potential cumulative childhood stress.
This study demonstrated the importance of not only studying traumatic events but also of focusing on the early familial and social environment in childhood stress research and indicated the importance of recording or monitoring childhood adversities.
Child; Life events; Adversity; Prevalence; Stress; Epidemiology
To date, most research on obesogenic environments facing school children has focused on physical and socio-cultural environments. The role of economic factors has been investigated to a much lesser extent. Our objective was to explore the association of micro-level economic factors and incentives with sports activities and intake of soft drinks and fruit juice in 10-12 year-old school children across Europe, and to explore price sensitivity in children’s soft drink consumption and correlates of this price sensitivity.
Data for the study originate from a cross-sectional survey undertaken in seven European countries (Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain) in 2010 among 10-12 year-old school children and their parents. In total, 7234 child questionnaires and 6002 parent questionnaires were completed. The child questionnaire included questions addressing self-reported weekly intake of soft drinks and fruit juices and time spent on sports activities, perception of parental support for sports activities, use of pocket money for soft drinks and perceived price responsiveness. Parent questionnaires included questions addressing the role of budget and price considerations in decisions regarding children’s sports activities, soft drink consumption, home practices and rules and socio-demographic background variables. Data were analysed using multiple linear regression and discrete-choice (ordered probit) modelling.
Economic factors were found to be associated with children’s sports participation and sugary drink consumption, explaining 27% of the variation in time for sports activities, and 27% and 12% of the variation in the children’s soft drink and juice consumption, respectively. Parents’ financial support was found to be an important correlate (Beta =0.419) of children’s sports activities. Children’s pocket money was a strong correlate (Beta =21.034) of soft drink consumption. The majority of the responding children reported to expect that significantly higher prices of soft drinks would lead them to buy less soft drinks with their own pocket money, but a majority of parents did not expect higher soft drink prices to reduce their children’s soft drink consumption.
We conclude that economic factors, especially parents’ financial support and amount of pocket money, appear to be of importance for children’s sports participation and soft drink consumption, respectively.
Children; Obesogenic environment; Economic incentives; Sports activity; Soft drinks; Price responsiveness
We investigated cross-sectionally and longitudinally the relationship between FTO rs9939609 and obesity-related characteristics in the European children of the IDEFICS project and the interaction of this variant with a lifestyle intervention.
Population and Methods
A cohort of 16224 children (2–9 years) was recruited into a population-based survey (T0) from eight European countries. A second survey (T1) reassessed the children two years later. A random sample of 4405 children was extracted for genetic studies. 3168 children were re-examined two years later. Half of them underwent a lifestyle intervention program. The FTO rs9939609 was genotyped. Weight, height, waist circumference, triceps and subscapular skinfolds were measured at T0 and T1.
At T0, the risk A allele of rs9939609 was significantly associated with higher values of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and skinfolds (age, sex, and country-adjusted p-values: all p<0.001) and with a statistically significant increased risk of overweight/obesity.
Over the two year follow-up, no interaction between genotype and intervention was observed. The A allele was associated to a significantly higher increase in all the anthropometric variables examined at T0 independently from the study group (intervention versus control) (p-values: all p<0.002, adjusted for age, sex, country, intervention/control study group, T0 values, and individual time interval between T0 and T1). Over the two-year follow–up, 210 new cases of overweight/obesity occurred. A statistically significant higher incidence of overweight/obesity was associated to the A allele [ORA = 1.95, 95% CI = (1.29; 2.97)].
We confirmed the association between the FTO rs9939609 and body mass and overweight/obesity risk in European children. The main finding of the study is that the A allele carriers present higher increase of body mass and central adiposity over time and higher risk of developing overweight/obesity during growth, independently from intervention measures.
We aimed to examine whether time spent on different sedentary behaviours is associated with bone mineral content (BMC) in adolescents, after controlling for relevant confounders such as lean mass and objectively measured physical activity (PA), and if so, whether extra-curricular participation in osteogenic sports could have a role in this association.
Participants were 359 Spanish adolescents (12.5-17.5 yr, 178 boys,) from the HELENA-CSS (2006–07). Relationships of sedentary behaviours with bone variables were analysed by linear regression. The prevalence of low BMC (at least 1SD below the mean) and time spent on sedentary behaviours according to extracurricular sport participation was analysed by Chi-square tests.
In boys, the use of internet for non-study was negatively associated with whole body BMC after adjustment for lean mass and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). In girls, the time spent studying was negatively associated with femoral neck BMC. Additional adjustment for lean mass slightly reduced the negative association between time spent studying and femoral neck BMC. The additional adjustment for MVPA did not change the results at this site. The percentage of girls having low femoral neck BMC was significantly smaller in those participating in osteogenic sports (≥ 3 h/week) than in the rest, independently of the cut-off selected for the time spent studying.
The use of internet for non-study (in boys) and the time spent studying (in girls) are negatively associated with whole body and femoral neck BMC, respectively. In addition, at least 3 h/week of extra-curricular osteogenic sports may help to counteract the negative association of time spent studying on bone health in girls.
Bone health; Sedentary behaviours; Adolescents; Physical activity and extra-curricular participation in sports
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.
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).
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.
Early television exposure has been associated with various health outcomes including childhood obesity. This paper describes associations between patterns of television viewing, on one hand, and diet, taste preference and weight status, on the other, in European preschoolers and schoolchildren. The IDEFICS baseline survey was conducted at examination centers in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, and Spain. 15,144 children aged 2–9 completed the basic protocol, including anthropometry and parental questionnaires on their diets and television habits. A subsample of 1,696 schoolchildren underwent further sensory testing for fat and sweet taste preferences. Three dichotomous indicators described: children’s habitual television exposure time; television viewing during meals; and having televisions in their bedrooms. Based on these variables we investigated television habits in relation to overweight (IOTF) and usual consumption of foods high in fat and sugar. A possible role of taste preference in the latter association was tested in the sensory subgroup. All television indicators were significantly associated with increased risk of overweight, with odds ratios ranging from 1.21 to 1.30, in fully adjusted models. Children’s propensities to consume high-fat and high-sugar foods were positively and, in most analyses, monotonically associated with high-risk television behaviors. The associations between television and diet propensities were not explained by preference for added fat or sugar in test foods. To summarize, in addition to being more overweight, children with high-risk television behaviors may, independent of objectively measured taste preferences for fat and sugar, passively overconsume higher-fat and particularly higher-sugar diets.
Television; Diet; Taste preference; Childhood overweight
Participation rate and response rate are key issues in a cross sectional large-scale epidemiological study. The objective of this paper is to describe the study population and to evaluate participation and response rate as well as the key nutritional status variables in male and female adolescents involved in the HELENA study.
A multi-stage random cluster sampling with a target sample of 3000 adolescents aged [12.5 to 17.5] years, stratified for geographical location and age, was carried out. Information for participants and non-participants (NP) was compared, and participation and response rates to specific questionnaires were discussed.
3,865 adolescents aged [12.5 to 17.5] years (1,845 females) participated in the HELENA study, of whom 1,076 (568 females) participated in the blood sampling. 3,528 (1,845 females) adolescents were finally kept for statistical analysis. Participation rates for the schools and classes differed importantly between countries. The participation rate of pupils within the participating classes also differed importantly between countries. Sex ratio, mean age and BMI were similar between NP and participating adolescents within each centre, and in the overall sample. For all the questionnaires included in the database, the response rate of questionnaires was high (more than 80% of questions were completed).
From this study it could be concluded that participation rate differed importantly between countries, though no bias could be identified when comparing the key study variables between participants and non-participants. Response rate for questionnaires was very high. Future studies investigating lifestyle and health in adolescents can optimize their methods when considering the opportunities and barriers observed in the HELENA study.
The swimming involves accelerations and decelerations in the swimmer’s body. Thus, the main objective of this study is to make a temporal and frequency analysis of the acceleration in front crawl swimming, regarding the gender and the performance. The sample was composed by 31 male swimmers (15 of high-level and 16 of low-level) and 20 female swimmers (11 of high-level and 9 of low-level). The acceleration was registered from the third complete cycle during eight seconds in a 25 meters maximum velocity test. A position transducer (200Hz) was used to collect the data, and it was synchronized to an aquatic camera (25Hz). The acceleration in the temporal (root mean square, minimum and maximum of the acceleration) and frequency (power peak, power peak frequency and spectral area) domains was calculated with Fourier analysis, as well as the velocity and the spectrums distribution in function to present one or more main peaks (type 1 and type 2). A one-way ANOVA was used to establish differences between gender and performance. Results show differences between genders in all the temporal domain variables (p<0.05) and only the Spectral Area (SA) in the frequency domain (p<0.05). Between gender and performance, only the Root Mean Square (RMS) showed differences in the performance of the male swimmers (p<0.05) and in the higher level swimmers, the Maximum (Max) and the Power Peak (PP) of the acceleration showed differences between both genders (p<0.05). These results confirms the importance of knowing the RMS to determine the efficiency of the swimmers regarding gender and performance level
swimming; Root Mean Square; power peak; power peak frequency; spectrum area
Current data on the prevalence of overweight and energy-balance behaviors among European children is necessary to inform overweight prevention interventions.
A school-based survey among 10–12 year old children was conducted in seven European countries using a standardized protocol. Weight, height, and waist circumference were measured; Engagement in physical activity, sedentary and dietary behaviors, and sleep duration were self-reported. Descriptive analyses were conducted, looking at differences according to country, gender, and parental education. 7234 children (52%girls; 11.6±0.7 years) participated. 25.8% and 5.4% of boys, and 21.8% and 4.1% of girls were overweight (including obese) and obese (according to International Obesity Task Force criteria), respectively. Higher prevalence of overweight/obesity was observed in Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Spain than in Belgium, Netherlands and Norway. Large differences between countries were found in intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages, breakfast, active transport, TV and computer time. More favorable overweight status and behavior patterns were found in girls than boys and in children of higher educated parents than in children of lower educated parents.
High levels and striking differences in overweight status and potential risk behaviors were found among schoolchildren across Europe.
Parents are believed having strong influence on children’s eating behaviors. However, previous findings on child-parent resemblance in dietary intakes are mixed. We systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed the association (correlations) based on published studies.
We searched related studies published since 1980 and found 24 studies meeting inclusion criteria for review and 15 for meta-regression analysis. We compared the associations between parent-child pairs, nutrients, over time, and by dietary assessment method.
Most studies were based on small samples. Overall, they suggest a moderate or weak association, but findings varied remarkably. Our meta-analysis showed average Fisher’s transformed correlations were 0.20 (95% confidence interval 0.13–0.28) for fat (% energy); for energy, 0.21 (0.18, 0.24). The correlations varied by parent-child pairs, dietary assessment and countries. FFQ or mixed approaches yielded lower correlation than 24-hour recalls or food records. Child self-reported intakes showed weaker correlation, better methodology quality showed stronger correlation in fat intake (% energy), which also became weaker over time.
Overall, the resemblance is weak and it varied considerably across studies, nutrients, foods, parent-child pairs.
child; parent; diet; resemblance; association; review; meta-analysis
Centrin is a conserved calcium binding protein belonging to the EF-hand superfamily with two independent structural domains. This protein is found to be phosphorylated near the carboxyl terminal end. Our goal was to perform a novel comparative study of phosphorylated and unphosphorylated centrin by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy (2D-COS) analysis and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). To achieve this goal, we have bacterially expressed, isolated, purified and phosphorylated centrin. We verified the extent of phosphorylation to be >97% for centrin by MALDI MS analysis and determined the absence of aggregated protein. The thermal denaturation temperature and ΔCp were determined to be Tm = 112.1 °C (ΔCp = 7.8 Kcal/mole/ΔC) and Tm = 111.0°C (ΔCp = 5.0 Kcal/mole/°C) for holo-centrin and phosphorylated centrin, respectively. We have also described the molecular dynamics leading up to the thermal denaturation of the protein: for holo-centrin the vibrational modes associated with the calcium binding sites aspartates and glutamates, loops then the arginines, followed by the structured backbone vibrational modes the α-helix at 1635 cm−1 then β-sheet and finally the more exposed α-helix at 1650 cm−1; while for phosphorylated centrin aspartate, glutamate and arginine, followed by the backbone associated vibrational modes α-helix (1650 cm−1), loop then the β-sheet (1633 cm−1) and finally the α-helix (1637 cm−1). Therefore, the effect on domain stability due to phosphorylation at Ser167 was observed in the loops as well as the α-helix at 1650 cm−1.
calcium binding protein; phosphorylation; FT-IR Spectroscopy; differential scanning calorimetry; two dimensional correlation analysis; relative stability; conformational changes
Overweight and obesity in youth has increased dramatically. Therefore, overweight prevention initiatives should start early in life and target modifiable energy balance-related behaviours. Parental participation is often advocated as important for school-based interventions, however, getting parents involved in school-based interventions appears to be challenging based on earlier intervention experiences. The purpose of this study was to get insight into the determinants of and perspectives on parental participation in school-interventions on energy balance-related behaviours (physical activity, healthy eating, sedentary behaviours) in parents of ten- to twelve-year olds in order to develop an effective parental module for school-based interventions concerning energy balance-related behaviours.
Four countries (Belgium, Hungary, Norway and Spain) conducted the focus group research based on a standardised protocol and a semi-structured questioning route. A variation in parental socio-economic status (SES) and parental school involvement was taken into account when recruiting the parents. The audio taped interviews were transcribed, and a qualitative content analysis of the transcripts was conducted in each country.
Seventeen focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 92 parents (12 men, 80 women). Physical activity was considered to be a joint responsibility of school and parents, nutrition as parent's responsibility but supported by the school, and prevention of sedentary behaviours as parent's sole responsibility. Parents proposed interactive and practical activities together with their child as the best way to involve them such as cooking, food tasting, nutrition workshops, walking or cycling tours, sport initiations together with their child. Activities should be cheap, on a convenient moment, focused on their children and not on themselves, not tutoring, not theoretical, and school-or home-based.
Parents want to be involved in activities related to energy balance-related behaviours if this implies 'doing things together' with their child at school or at home.
Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi NCPPB 3335 is a model for the study of the molecular basis of disease production and tumor formation in woody hosts, and its draft genome sequence has been recently obtained. Here we closed the sequence of the plasmid complement of this strain, composed of three circular molecules of 78,357 nt (pPsv48A), 45,220 nt (pPsv48B), and 42,103 nt (pPsv48C), all belonging to the pPT23A-like family of plasmids widely distributed in the P. syringae complex. A total of 152 coding sequences were predicted in the plasmid complement, of which 38 are hypothetical proteins and seven correspond to putative virulence genes. Plasmid pPsv48A contains an incomplete Type IVB secretion system, the type III secretion system (T3SS) effector gene hopAF1, gene ptz, involved in cytokinin biosynthesis, and three copies of a gene highly conserved in plant-associated proteobacteria, which is preceded by a hrp box motif. A complete Type IVA secretion system, a well conserved origin of transfer (oriT), and a homolog of the T3SS effector gene hopAO1 are present in pPsv48B, while pPsv48C contains a gene with significant homology to isopentenyl-diphosphate delta-isomerase, type 1. Several potential mobile elements were found on the three plasmids, including three types of MITE, a derivative of IS801, and a new transposon effector, ISPsy30. Although the replication regions of these three plasmids are phylogenetically closely related, their structure is diverse, suggesting that the plasmid architecture results from an active exchange of sequences. Artificial inoculations of olive plants with mutants cured of plasmids pPsv48A and pPsv48B showed that pPsv48A is necessary for full virulence and for the development of mature xylem vessels within the knots; we were unable to obtain mutants cured of pPsv48C, which contains five putative toxin-antitoxin genes.