Poor Diet Quality During Adolescence is Linked to Serious Health Risks

December 13, 2023

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior closely measured cardiometabolic risk factors over two years

For more information, contact Joe Coussan, Joe.coussan@pbrc.edu, 225-763-3049

JNEBBATON ROUGE – Diet quality among adolescents in the United States is among the worst across all age groups, putting young people at risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, among other cardiometabolic diseases later in life. The research brief shared in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier, used the Healthy Eating Index-2015 and medical testing to assess a group of youth aged 10-16 years. 

This study examined data from the Translational Investigation of Growth and Everyday Routine in Kids cohort. This study measured physical activity, sleep, and overall dietary guidelines for youth living in metropolitan areas of Louisiana, which are typically medically underserved and characterized by high poverty levels, food insecurity, obesity, and related diseases. Study participants provided a baseline data set with follow-up measures two years later. 

Corresponding author Amanda E. Staiano, PhD, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, explained, “Examining the data related to diet quality may help identify targets for future interventions in families, homes, and communities. Effective and timely interventions focusing on adherence to dietary guidelines are necessary for improving diet quality and reducing health risks.”

Of the 342 eligible and enrolled adolescents, the final study sample included 192 participants with complete baseline and follow-up data. At baseline and follow-up, the adolescents were asked to wear an accelerometer for at least seven days and complete two 24-hour dietary recalls for their food and beverage intake during research visits that included body composition, blood pressure, and clinical chemistry measurements and anthropometrics. 

Considering overall eating patterns, the findings showed that adolescents with poor adherence to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and associated cardiometabolic risk factors continued these same patterns over the two years of the study, suggesting that the adverse effects of a poor-quality diet had already established the health risks these teenagers will face throughout life. 

Dr. Staiano concluded, “This study found specific dietary quality patterns associated with adolescent cardiometabolic risk factors. Promotion of nutrition knowledge is necessary, but knowledge is not consistently linked with food consumption behavior. Identifying barriers to consuming a healthful diet and investigating effective strategies to overcome these barriers may curtail future health risks.”

The article, “Adolescent Diet Quality, Cardiometabolic Risk, and Adiposity: A Prospective Cohort,” by Kathy Hu; Alyssa M. Button, PhD; Claire M. Tate; Chelsea L. Kracht, PhD; Catherine M. Champagne, PhD, RDN; and Amanda E. Staiano, PhD (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2023.10.003), appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, volume 55, issue 12 (December 2023), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is also available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain a copy.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Alyssa M. Button, PhD, and Kathy Hu and other information for journalists are available at https://www.jneb.org/content/media. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media with permission from Eileen Leahy. 

About the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society's efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public. 

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications. www.jneb.org.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across the global research and health ecosystems. In everything we publish, we uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity. We bring that same rigor to our information analytics solutions for researchers, academic leaders, funders, R&D-intensive corporations, doctors, and nurses.  

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About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Pennington Biomedical has the vision to lead the world in promoting metabolic health and eliminating metabolic disease through scientific discoveries that create solutions from cells to society.  The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with LSU.

The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 480 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

For more information, see www.pbrc.edu.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808