Attention capacity in European adolescents: role of different health-related factors. The HELENA study

Eur J Pediatr. 2017 Oct;176(10):1433-1437. doi: 10.1007/s00431-017-3000-2. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Abstract

We compared the level of attention capacity between adolescents from the center and south of Europe. The study included 627 European adolescents (54% girls), aged 12.5-17.5 years, who participated in the HELENA Study. The d2 Test of Attention was administered to assess attention capacity. The main results showed that adolescents from the south of Europe had significantly higher score in attention capacity compared with adolescents from central Europe (score + 8.1; 95%CI, 2.44-13.61) after adjustment for age, sex, socioeconomic indicators, body mass index, cardiorespiratory fitness and diet quality index (p = 0.012).

Conclusion: Adolescents from the south of Europe had higher levels of attention capacity than their counterparts from central Europe independently of sociodemographic and health-related factors. These differences should be taken into account by educational institutions when promoting new approaches for putting into the practice student's capacities. What is Known? • Attention is a crucial capacity during adolescence. • Several health-related factors (i.e., physical activity, fitness or fatness) may influence attention capacity in adolescents. What is New? • Adolescents from the south of Europe had higher levels of attention capacity than their counterparts from the center, after accounting for socioeconomic factors, fitness, fatness and quality of diet. • These differences should be taken into account by educational institutions when promoting new approaches for putting into the practice student's capacities.

Keywords: Adolescence; Attention capacity; Europe; Geographical discrepancies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health*
  • Attention*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychology, Adolescent*