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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):748-55.

Dietary intakes of fat and antioxidant vitamins are predictors of subclinical inflammation in overweight Swiss children.

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  • 1Human Nutrition Laboratory, Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.



In obese children, subclinical inflammation is often present and is correlated with the metabolic syndrome. Dietary factors, such as fatty acids and antioxidants, potentially modulate the association between adiposity and subclinical inflammation, but few data are available in children.


The aim of the study was to determine whether dietary fat or antioxidant intakes influence circulating tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and leptin concentrations in overweight children.


In a cross-sectional study of 6-14-y-old normal-weight (n = 33), overweight (n = 19), and obese (n = 27) Swiss children, nutritional intakes were assessed from two 24-h dietary recalls and a 1-d dietary record. Percentage body fat from skinfold thicknesses, waist-hip ratio, and blood pressure were measured. Fasting blood samples were collected for the measurement of insulin, glucose, HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerol, CRP, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and leptin concentrations.


CRP, IL-6, and leptin increased significantly (P < 0.02) with increasing adiposity, independent of age; TNF-alpha did not increase. Total dietary fat and the percentage of energy from fat were significant predictors of CRP concentration, independent of body mass index (P < 0.05). Meat intake was a significant predictor of IL-6 and leptin, independent of body mass index (P < 0.05). Intakes of antioxidant vitamins (vitamins E and C and beta-carotene) were significant predictors of leptin (P < 0.05) but not of CRP, IL-6, or TNF-alpha.


Overweight Swiss children as young as 6 y have elevated concentrations of inflammatory markers. Intakes of total fat and antioxidant vitamins are determinants of subclinical inflammation in this age group.

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