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Children's propensity to consume sugar and fat predicts regular alcohol consumption in adolescence.

Journal article
Authors Kirsten Mehlig
Leonie H Bogl
Monica Hunsberger
Wolfgang Ahrens
Stefaan De Henauw
Isabel Iguacel
Hannah Jilani
Dénes Molnár
Valeria Pala
Paola Russo
Michael Tornaritis
Toomas Veidebaum
Jaakko Kaprio
Lauren Lissner
Published in Public health nutrition
Volume 21
Issue 17
Pages 3202-3209
ISSN 1475-2727
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 3202-3209
Language en
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


The present study investigated the association between sugar and fat intake in childhood in relation to alcohol use in adolescence. We hypothesized that early exposure to diets high in fat and sugar may affect ingestive behaviours later in life, including alcohol use.Design/Setting/SubjectsChildren from the European IDEFICS/I.Family cohort study were examined at ages 5-9 years and followed up at ages 11-16 years. FFQ were completed by parents on behalf of children, and later by adolescents themselves. Complete data were available in 2263 participants. Children's propensities to consume foods high in fat and sugar were calculated and dichotomized at median values. Adolescents' use of alcohol was classified as at least weekly v. less frequent use. Log-binomial regression linked sugar and fat consumption in childhood to risk of alcohol use in adolescence, adjusted for relevant covariates.Five per cent of adolescents reported weekly alcohol consumption. Children with high propensity to consume sugar and fat were at greater risk of later alcohol use, compared with children with low fat and low sugar propensity (relative risk=2·46; 95 % CI 1·47, 4·12), independent of age, sex and survey country. The association was not explained by parental income and education, strict parenting style or child's health-related quality of life and was only partly mediated by sustained consumption of sugar and fat into adolescence.Frequent consumption of foods high in fat and sugar in childhood predicted regular use of alcohol in adolescence.

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