Clustering of Dietary Patterns, Lifestyles, and Overweight among Spanish Children and Adolescents

The research 'Clustering of Dietary Patterns, Lifestyles, and Overweight among Spanish Children and Adolescents' has been published in the international scientific journal Nutrients has identified dietary patterns among children (9-12 years-old) and adolescents (13-17 years-old), as well as to investigate whether energy balance-related behaviors cluster to characterize meaningful patterns in this population group.

In order to undertake this analysis, data from 415 children and adolescents have been considered (after excluding outliers and participants with incomplete data). No difference has been observed in sociodemographic characteristics between children and adolescent groups, being prevalence of overweight and obesity significantly higher in children.

In this respect, four different dietary patterns were defined:

  • Mediterranean like Dietary Pattern: characterized by a greater presence of vegetables, olive oil, fish, fruits, yoghurt and fermented milk products, as well as water, and a lower intake of processed meat products, sauces, bakery products, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and food supplements. This pattern is more similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet.
  • Sandwich Dietary Pattern: characterized by high positive loadings on bread, processed meat products and cheese.
  • Pasta Dietary Pattern: with high positive loadings on pasta, sauces and dressings, as well as baked goods, but with high negative loadings on legumes.
  • Milk-sugary foods Dietary Pattern: : with high positive loading on milk, sugar, sugary foods and food supplements.
This study shows that, according to dietary patterns, physical activity (minutes/day of moderate and vigorous activity), sedentary behaviors and sleep time on weekdays (not during the weekend), Spanish children and adolescents who participated in the ANIBES scientific study are classified in two different groups:
  • Unhealthier lifestyle pattern: characterized by low physical activity and less adequate diet.
  • Healthier lifestyle pattern:characterized by high levels of physical activity, lower time spent in sedentary activities, higher sleep duration and healthier diet.

Even though differences were not statistically significant, unhealthier lifestyle pattern (less physical activity and less adequate diet) includes a higher proportion of obese people and low socioeconomic status families compared to healthier dietary habits and lifestyles pattern.

Learn more about the study ''Clustering of Dietary Patterns, Lifestyles, and Overweight among Spanish Children and Adolescents" by gender and age group.