Association between chocolate consumption and fatness in European adolescents

Nutrition. 2014 Feb;30(2):236-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Objective: There is a substantial interest in the potential role of chocolate in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. It has been recently reported that a higher frequency of chocolate intake is linked to lower body mass index (BMI) in adults. The aim of the present study was to determine if higher chocolate consumption also is associated with lower BMI, as well as other markers of total and central body fat, in adolescents.

Methods: This study comprised 1458 adolescents (ages 12.5-17.5 y) participating in HELENA-CSS (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study). Dietary intake was self-registered using a computer-based tool for 24-h dietary recall on 2 non-consecutive days. Weight and height were measured, and BMI was calculated. Adiposity was estimated using skinfolds (Slaughter's equation) and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Waist circumference was measured. Sexual maturation also was recorded. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry.

Results: Higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower levels of total and central fatness, as estimated by BMI, body fat estimated from skinfolds and BIA, and waist circumference, regardless of potential confounders (P ≤ 0.01).

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that a higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower total and central fatness in European adolescents.

Keywords: Body fat percentage; Body mass index; Chocolate; HELENA study; Waist circumference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cacao*
  • Candy*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • White People*