Dietary quality indices in relation to cardiometabolic risk among Finnish children aged 6-8 years - The PANIC study

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016 Sep;26(9):833-41. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 27.


Background and aims: There are no studies on the relationships of dietary quality indices to the clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors in children. We therefore investigated the associations of four dietary quality indices with cardiometabolic risk score and cardiometabolic risk factors in Finnish children.

Methods and results: Subjects were a population sample of 204 boys and 198 girls aged 6-8 years. We assessed diet by 4-day food records and calculated Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Score, Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS), Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), and Finnish Children Healthy Eating Index (FCHEI). We calculated the age- and sex-adjusted cardiometabolic risk score summing up Z-scores for waist circumference, mean of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and concentrations of fasting serum insulin and fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, the last multiplying by -1. Higher FCHEI was associated with lower cardiometabolic risk score among boys (standardised regression coefficient β = -0.14, P = 0.044) adjusted for age, physical activity, electronic media time and household income. Higher DASH Score was related to a lower serum insulin in boys (β = -0.15, P = 0.028). Higher DASH Score (β = -0.16, P = 0.023) and FCHEI (β = -0.17, P = 0.014) were related to lower triglyceride concentration in boys. Higher FCHEI was associated with lower triglyceride concentration in girls (β = -0.16, P = 0.033). Higher DASH Score (β = -0.19, P = 0.011) and BSDS (β = -0.23, P = 0.001) were associated with lower plasma HDL cholesterol concentration in girls.

Conclusion: Higher FCHEI was associated with lower cardiometabolic risk among boys, whereas DASH Score, BSDS or MDS were not associated with cardiometabolic risk in children.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic risk score; Children; Dietary quality index.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Life Style
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Waist Circumference


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids