Eating behaviour, insulin resistance and cluster of metabolic risk factors in European adolescents. The HELENA study

Appetite. 2012 Aug;59(1):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.04.011. Epub 2012 Apr 21.


The present study examined the associations of food behaviours and preferences with markers of insulin resistance and clustered metabolic risk factors score after controlling for potential confounders, including body fat in European adolescents. A cross-sectional study "Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study" of 3546 European adolescents aged 12.5-17.5 years was conducted, using a complete dataset on at least glucose, insulin and "Food Choice Questionnaire". Results indicated skipping breakfast, as well as the preference of some foods such as nuts, chocolate, burgers and pizzas, soft drinks or juices, explain part of homeostasis model assessment index variance. In addition, snacking regularly during school day is associated with higher metabolic risk score in females. In conclusion, the present findings suggest that intervention studies aimed to prevent insulin resistance and metabolic risk factors in youth should focus not only in influencing food and drink preferences, but also to ensure healthy food behaviour in adolescents. The harmful consequences in the choice of certain foods or drinks and food habits can be countered with proper planning and intervention programs to prevent insulin resistance and metabolic risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whites