Research and Education Institute of Child Health

Strovolos, Cyprus

Research and Education Institute of Child Health

Strovolos, Cyprus
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de Henauw S.,Ghent University | de Henauw S.,University College Ghent | Huybrechts I.,International Agency for Research on Cancer | de Bourdeaudhuij I.,Ghent University | And 13 more authors.
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2015

Background/Objectives: Childhood obesity is a major public health concern but evidence-based approaches to tackle this epidemic sustainably are still lacking. The Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS (IDEFICS) study investigated the aetiology of childhood obesity and developed a primary prevention programme. Here, we report on the effects of the IDEFICS intervention on indicators of body fatness. Subjects/Methods: The intervention modules addressed the community, school and parental level, focusing on diet, physical activity and stress-related lifestyle factors. A cohort of 16,228 children aged 2-9.9years - about 2000 per country - was equally divided over intervention and control regions. (Participating countries were Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Belgium.) We compared the prevalence of overweight/obesity and mean values of body mass index z-score, per cent body fat and waist-to-height ratio over 2years of follow-up. Mixed models adjusting for age and socioeconomic status of the parents and with an additional random effect for country accounted for the clustered study design. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity increased in both the intervention and control group from 18.0% at baseline to 22.9% at follow-up in the control group and from 19.0% to 23.6% in the intervention group. The difference in changes between control and intervention was not statistically significant. For the cohort as a whole, the changes in indicators of body fatness did not show any clinically relevant differences between the intervention and control groups. Changes in favour of intervention treatment in some indicators were counterbalanced by changes in favour of the control group in some other indicators. Conclusions: Over the 2-year-observation period, the IDEFICS primary prevention programme for childhood obesity has not been successful in reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity nor in improving indicators of body fatness in the target population as a whole. © 2015 World Obesity.

Marild S.,Gothenburg University | Russo P.,Institute of Food science | Veidebaum T.,National Institute for Health Development | Tornaritis M.,Research and Education Institute of Child Health | And 8 more authors.
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2015

Introduction: One objective of 'Identification and prevention of Dietary-and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS', the IDEFICS study, was to implement a community-oriented childhood obesity prevention intervention in eight European countries. Objective: To assess the effect of an obesity primary prevention programme on metabolic markers. Methods: The study had a non-randomized cluster-experimental design. In each country, children were recruited from distinct communities serving as intervention and control regions. Health examinations were done during 2007-2008 before the intervention (T0) and during 2009-2010 (T1). Children with results available from T0 and T1 on blood pressure, waist circumference and at least one blood-marker (fasting glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, HbA1c, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein) were included. A metabolic syndrome (MetS) score was calculated. Results: A total of 7,406 children (age 2-9.9years) of the 16,228 participating at T0 provided the necessary data. No effect of the intervention was seen on insulin, HOMA-IR, CRP or the MetS score. Overall fasting glucose increased less in the intervention than in the control region, a pattern driven by three of the eight countries and more pronounced in children of parents with low education. Overall, HbA1c and waist circumference increased more and blood pressure less in the intervention regions. Conclusion: We observed no convincing effect of the intervention on markers of the metabolic syndrome. We identified diverse patterns of change for several markers of uncertain relation to the intervention. © 2015 World Obesity.

Hense S.,Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine BIPS | Barba G.,National Research Council Italy | Pohlabeln H.,Data Management | De Henauw S.,Ghent University | And 6 more authors.
Sleep | Year: 2011

Study Objectives: To compare nocturnal sleep duration in children from 8 European countries and identify its determinants. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Primary schools and preschools participating in the IDEFICS study. Participants: 8,542 children aged 2 to 9 years from 8 European countries with complete information on nocturnal sleep duration. Interventions: Not applicable. Measurements: Nocturnal sleep duration was assessed by means of a computer based parental 24-h recall. Data on personal, social, environmental, and behavioral factors were collected by means of standardized parental questionnaire. Physical activity was surveyed with accelerometers. Results: Nocturnal sleep duration in the participating countries ranged from 9.5 h (SD 0.8) in Estonia to 11.2 h (SD 0.7) in Belgium and differed significantly between countries (P < 0.001) in univariate as well as in multivariate analyses, with children from northern countries sleeping the longest. Sleep duration decreased by about 6 min with each year of age over all countries. No effect of season, daylight duration, overweight, parental education level, or lifestyle factors could be seen. Conclusion: Sleep duration differs significantly between countries. Our findings allow for the conclusion that regional affiliation, including culture and environmental characteristics, seems to overlay individual determinants of sleep duration. © Copyright 2011 Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC.

Lanfer A.,University of Bremen | Knof K.,Ttz Bremerhaven | Barba G.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Veidebaum T.,National Institute for Health Development | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Obesity | Year: 2012

Background:Increased preference for fat and sugar may have a role in overweight and obesity development. However, this effect is likely to vary across different food cultures. To date, few studies on this topic have been conducted in children and none have employed an international, multi-centre design.Objective:To document taste preferences for fat and sweet in children from eight European countries and to investigate their association with weight status and dietary habits.Design:A total of 1696 children aged 6-9 years from survey centres in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Hungary and Spain tasted and subsequently chose between a high-versus a low-fat cracker and a natural versus a sugar-sweetened apple juice. Children's consumption frequency of fatty and sweet foods and demographic variables were obtained from parental-reported questionnaires. Weight and height of the children were measured.Results:Fat and sweet taste preferences varied substantially across survey centres. Independent of survey centre, age, sex, parental education and parental BMI, overweight including obesity was positively associated with fat preference and sweet preference. Fat preference associations were stronger in girls. Girlsbut not boyswith a combined preference for fat and sweet had an especially high probability of being overweight or obese. Adjusted models with BMI z-score as the dependent variable were consistent with results of the analyses with BMI categories, but with significant results only for fat preference in girls. Frequent consumption of fatty foods was related to fat preference in bivariate analyses; however, adjusting for survey centre attenuated the association. Sweet preference was not related to consumption of sweet foods, either in crude or in adjusted analyses.Conclusions:Fat and sweet taste preferences are related to weight status in European children across regions with varying food cultures. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Konstabel K.,University of Tartu | Veidebaum T.,National Institute for Health Development | Verbestel V.,Ghent University | Moreno L.A.,University of Zaragoza | And 9 more authors.
International journal of obesity (2005) | Year: 2014

OBJECTIVES: To provide sex- and age-specific percentile values for levels of physical activity (PA) and sedentary time of European children aged 2.0-10.9 years from eight European countries (Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium and Estonia).METHODS: Free-living PA and sedentary time were objectively assessed using ActiGraph GT1M or ActiTrainer activity monitors in all children who had at least 3 days' worth of valid accelerometer data, with at least 8 h of valid recording time each day. The General Additive Model for Location Scale and Shape was used for calculating percentile curves.RESULTS: Reference values for PA and sedentary time in the European children according to sex and age are displayed using smoothed percentile curves for 7684 children (3842 boys and 3842 girls). The figures show similar trends in boys and girls. The percentage of children complying with recommendations regarding moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is also presented and varied considerably between sexes and country. For example, the percentage of study participants who were physically active (as assessed by MVPA) for 60 or more minutes per day ranged from 2.0% (Cyprus) to 14.7% (Sweden) in girls and from 9.5% (Italy) to 34.1% (Belgium) in boys.CONCLUSION: This study provides the most up-to-date sex- and age-specific reference data on PA in young children in Europe. The percentage compliance to MVPA recommendations for these European children varied considerably between sexes and country and was generally low. These results may have important implications for public health policy and PA counselling.

Lissner L.,Gothenburg University | de Bourdeaudhuij I.,Ghent University | Konstabel K.,National Health Research Institute | Marild S.,Gothenburg University | And 9 more authors.
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2015

Background: The aim of this study was to explore whether the IDEFICS intervention had a differential effect on 11,041 children's weight trajectories depending on their baseline body mass index status. Methods: Two subgroups of children are considered in the present analysis: those who were overweight or obese prior to the intervention and those who were neither overweight nor obese. Results: Among children in all eight countries who did not have prevalent overweight or obesity (OWOB) at baseline, 2years later, there was no significant difference between intervention and control groups in risk of having developed OWOB. However, we observed a strong regional heterogeneity, which could be attributed to the presence of one distinctly outlying country, Belgium, where the intervention group had increased risk for becoming overweight. In contrast, among the sample of children with prevalent OWOB at baseline, we observed a significantly greater probability of normalized weight status after 2years. In other words, a protective effect against persistent OWOB was observed in children in intervention regions compared with controls, which corresponded to an adjusted odds ratio of 0.76 (95% confidence interval: 0.58, 0.98). Discussion: This analysis thus provided evidence of a differential effect of the IDEFICS intervention, in which children with overweight may have benefited without having been specifically targeted. However, no overall primary preventive effect could be observed in children without initial overweight or obesity. © 2015 World Obesity.

Jimenez-Pavon D.,University of Zaragoza | Konstabel K.,National Health Research Institute | Bergman P.,Linnaeus University | Ahrens W.,University of Bremen | And 8 more authors.
BMC Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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.Conclusions: 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: © 2013 Jiménez-Pavón et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Savva S.C.,Research and education institute of Child Health | Lamnisos D.,Cyprus University of Technology | Kafatos A.G.,University of Crete
Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy | Year: 2013

Background and objectives: The identification of increased cardiometabolic risk among asymptomatic individuals remains a huge challenge. The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare the association of body mass index (BMI), which is an index of general obesity, and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), an index of abdominal obesity, with cardiometabolic risk in cross-sectional and prospective studies. Methods: PubMed and Embase databases were searched for cross-sectional or prospective studies that evaluated the association of both BMI and WHtR with several cardiometabolic outcomes. The strength of relative risk (RR) with 95% confdence interval (CI) was calculated using the optimal cutoffs of BMI and WHtR in cross-sectional studies, while any available cutoff was used in prospective studies. The pooled estimate of the ratio of RRs (rRR [=RRBMI/ RRWHtR]) with 95% CIs was used to compare the association of WHtR and BMI with car-diometabolic risk. Meta-regression was used to identify possible sources of heterogeneity between the studies. Results: Twenty-four cross-sectional studies and ten prospective studies with a total number of 512,809 participants were identifed as suitable for the purpose of this meta-analysis. WHtR was found to have a stronger association than BMI with diabetes mellitus (rRR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.59-0.84) and metabolic syndrome (rRR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.89-0.96) in cross-sectional studies. Also in prospective studies, WHtR appears to be superior to BMI in detecting several outcomes, including incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality. The usefulness of WHtR appears to be better in Asian than in non-Asian populations. BMI was not superior to WHtR in any of the outcomes that were evaluated. However, the results of the utilized approach should be interpreted cautiously because of a substantial heterogeneity between the results of the studies. Meta-regression analysis was performed to explain this heterogeneity, but none of the evaluated factors, ie, sex, origin (Asians, non-Asians), and optimal BMI or WHtR cutoffs were signifcantly related with rRR. Conclusion: The results of this meta-analysis support the use of WHtR in identifying adults at increased cardiometabolic risk. However, further evidence is warranted because of a substantial heterogeneity between the studies. © 2013 Savva et al.

Arvidsson L.,Gothenburg University | Bogl L.-H.,University of Helsinki | Eiben G.,Gothenburg University | Hebestreit A.,Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology BIPS | And 7 more authors.
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2015

Background: The objective of this paper is to investigate differences in diets of families in intervention versus control communities 5years after the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants intervention ended. Methods: Altogether, 4,691 families from the I.Family study with at least one participating parent and one child are included in this analysis. Diet quality indicators, defined as propensities to consume fat, sugar, water and fruit and vegetables, are calculated from a 59-item food frequency questionnaire. Multilevel linear models with random intercepts for study centre are used to determine whether mean diet indicators, calculated at the family level, differed as a function of previous exposure to the intervention. Results: Families in the intervention communities reported a significantly lower sugar propensity (19.8% vs. 20.7% of total food items, p<0.01) and a higher water propensity (47.3% vs. 46.0% of total beverages, p<0.05) compared with families in the control communities, while fat and fruit and vegetables propensities were similar. No significant diet differences between intervention and control children were present at the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants baseline. Discussion: This result indicates better diet quality in intervention families, which was not present in children when their diets were assessed before the intervention, and gives some cause for optimism regarding the sustainability of some aspects of the diet intervention. © 2015 World Obesity.

Savva S.C.,Research and Education Institute of Child Health | Kafatos A.,University of Crete
Current Pediatric Reviews | Year: 2014

Iron deficiency remains the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide despite the fact that global prevention is a high priority. Recent guidelines suggest intake of red meat both in infants and toddlers to prevent iron deficiency. However frequent consumption of red and processed meat may be associated with an increased risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Evidence also suggests that even in vegetarian diets or diets with little consumption of white or red meat, iron status may not be adversely affected. The Eastern Orthodox Christian Church dietary recommendations which is a type of periodic vegetarian diet, has proved beneficial for the prevention of iron deficiency and avoidance of excess iron intake. This paper aims to provide examples of meals for children and adolescents that may be sufficient to meet age specific iron requirements without consumption of red meat beyond the recommended consumption which is once or twice per month. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers.

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