1 Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, España; 2 Universidad de Granada, Granada, España. 3 Harokopio University, Greece; 4 Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; 5 University Lille 2, Lille, France; 6 University of Crete, Greece; 7 Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Research Center for Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy; 8 Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden; 9 Medical University of Vienna, Austria; 10 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, España.
Introduction: Dietary pattern (DP) analysis has emerged as an alternative and complementary approach to addressing diet-disease associations. Objective: To identify dietary patterns (DPs) in European adolescents and to examine their relationship with several body composition indicators. Methods: A multinational cross-sectional study was carried out in 2,202 adolescents (45.4% boys) aged 12.5 to 17.5 years. Dietary intake data was obtained by two non-consecutive computer-based 24 hour-recalls. Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Fat Percentage (BF%), Fat mass(FM), Fat Mass Index (FMI), Fat Free Mass (FFM), Waist circumference (WC), Waist to hip ratio and waist to height ratio were calculated. Principal component analysis was used to extract DPs, and linear regression examined the association between DPs scores and the following body composition indicators. Results: Four DPs were obtained for boys (“plant-based”, “snacking”, “breakfast” and “health conscious”) and five DPs for girls (“confectionary and snacking”, “plant based”, “breakfast”, “animal protein” and “health conscious”). In boys, higher adherence to the “breakfast” DP correlated with lower BF% (ß=-0.73; CI:-1.14,- 0.35); higher adherence to the “health conscious” DP correlated was associated with lower FMI (ß=-0.24; CI:-0.40,-0.08); and higher adherence to the “snacking” DP was associated with lower BMI z-score (ß=-0.10; CI:-0.20,-0.01). In girls, higher adherence to the “animal protein” DP was associated with higher BF%, (ß=0.45; CI: 0.01,0.89), FM (ß=0.56; CI:0.13,0.99), FMI (ß=0.18; CI:0.02,0.35), FFM (ß=0.44; CI:0.15,0.73), and WC (ß=0.62; CI:0.12,1.12). Conclusion: DPs differ by gender. In boys, 3 out of 4 DPs obtained were associated with body composition indicators while in girls associations were observed for just 1 out of 5 DPs obtained. DPs approach seems promising to better understand the relationship between diet and body composition in adolescents. These finding can be used in the development of interventions promoting DPs that could be favourable for adolescents’ body composition indicators.