Cardiorespiratory fitness and dietary intake in European adolescents: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study

Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107(12):1850-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005149. Epub 2011 Nov 28.


The present study investigated the association between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and dietary intake in European adolescents. The study comprised 1492 adolescents (770 females) from eight European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. CRF was assessed by the 20 m shuttle run test. Adolescents were grouped into low and high CRF levels according to the FITNESSGRAM Standards. Dietary intake was self-registered by the adolescents using a computer-based tool for 24 h dietary recalls (HELENA-Dietary Assessment Tool) on two non-consecutive days. Weight and height were measured, and BMI was calculated. Higher CRF was associated with higher total energy intake in boys (P = 0·003). No association was found between CRF and macronutrient intake (as percentage of energy), yet some positive associations were found with daily intake of bread/cereals in boys and dairy products in both boys and girls (all P < 0·003), regardless of centre, age and BMI. CRF was inversely related to sweetened beverage consumption in girls. These findings were overall consistent when CRF was analysed according to the FITNESSGRAM categories (high/low CRF). A high CRF was not related to compliance with dietary recommendations, except for sweetened beverages in girls (P = 0·002). In conclusion, a high CRF is associated with a higher intake of dairy products and bread/cereals, and a lower consumption of sweetened beverages, regardless of centre, age and BMI. The present findings contribute to the understanding of the relationships between dietary factors and physiological health indicators such as CRF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cardiovascular System*
  • Cities
  • Computers
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Energy Intake*
  • Europe
  • Exercise Test
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Respiratory System*
  • Running / physiology
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors


  • Dietary Sucrose