Higher dietary flavone, flavonol, and catechin intakes are associated with less of an increase in BMI over time in women: a longitudinal analysis from the Netherlands Cohort Study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov;88(5):1341-52. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26058.


Background: Dietary flavonoids are suggested to have antiobesity effects. Prospective evidence of an association between flavonoids and body mass index (BMI) is lacking in general populations.

Objective: We assessed this association between 3 flavonoid subgroups and BMI over a 14-y period in 4280 men and women aged 55-69 y at baseline from the Netherlands Cohort Study.

Design: Dietary intake was estimated at baseline (1986) by a validated food-frequency questionnaire. BMI was ascertained through self-reported height (in 1986) and weight (in 1986, 1992, and 2000). Analyses were based on sex-specific quintiles for the total intake of 6 catechins and of 3 flavonols/flavones. Linear mixed effect modeling was used to assess longitudinal associations in 3 adjusted models: age only, lifestyle (age, energy intake, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol intake, type 2 diabetes, and coffee consumption), and lifestyle and diet (vegetables, fruit, fiber, grains, sugar, dessert, and dieting habits).

Results: After adjustment for age and confounders, the BMI (kg/m(2)) of women with the lowest intake of total flavonols/flavones and total catechins increased by 0.95 and 0.77, respectively, after 14 y. Women with the highest intake of total flavonols/flavones and total catechins experienced a significantly lower increase in BMI of 0.40 and 0.31, respectively (between group difference: P < 0.05). This difference remained after additional adjustment for dietary determinants and after stratification of median baseline BMI. In men, no significant differences in BMI change were observed over the quintiles of flavonoid intake after 14 y.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that flavonoid intake may contribute to maintaining body weight in the general female population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Catechin / administration & dosage*
  • Catechin / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Flavones / administration & dosage*
  • Flavones / physiology
  • Flavonols / administration & dosage*
  • Flavonols / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Flavones
  • Flavonols
  • Catechin