Background and aims: Inflammation plays a key role in atherosclerosis and this process seems to appear in childhood. The ideal cardiovascular health index (ICHI) has been inversely related to atherosclerotic plaque in adults. However, evidence regarding inflammation and ICHI in adolescents is scarce. The aim is to assess the association between ICHI and inflammation in European adolescents.
Methods and results: As many as 543 adolescents (251 boys and 292 girls) from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study, a cross-sectional multi-center study including 9 European countries, were measured. C-reactive protein (CRP), complement factors C3 and C4, leptin and white blood cell counts were used to compute an inflammatory score. Multilevel linear models and multilevel logistic regression were used to assess the association between ICHI and inflammation controlling by covariates. Higher ICHI was associated with a lower inflammatory score, as well as with several individual components, both in boys and girls (p < 0.01). In addition, adolescents with at least 4 ideal components of the ICHI had significantly lower inflammatory score and lower levels of the study biomarkers, except CRP. Finally, the multilevel logistic regression showed that for every unit increase in the ICHI, the probability of having an inflammatory profile decreased by 28.1% in girls.
Conclusion: Results from this study suggest that a better ICHI is associated with a lower inflammatory profile already in adolescence. Improving these health behaviors, and health factors included in the ICHI, could play an important role in CVD prevention.
Keywords: Cardiovascular health; European adolescents; Inflammation.
Copyright © 2016 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.