It seems to be stating the obvious, increased fat content in diet affects weight and obesity among adolescents. The obesity rate in the United States is at an all time high with approximately 30 % of adolescents impacted. A new study by the UPV/EHU, published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition, has confirmed that an excessive proportion of fat in the diet leads to a greater accumulation of fat in the abdomen, regardless of physical activity or calorie intake.
The research investigated the impact of dietary fat in the build up of abdominal fat in adolescents. The accumulation of abdominal fat has been linked to the most harmful in health terms as it increases the risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems, diabetes mellitus, arterial high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, etc. This was the first study to examine the role of diet composition in the development of excess abdominal fat at such a critical adolescence developmental stage.
“Until now it was thought that even with an unbalanced diet, you somehow compensated for it if you got plenty of physical exercise. In this study we have shown that this is not the case,” explained Idoia Labayen, PhD holder in Biology and Tenured Lecturer in Nutrition and Food Science at the UPV/EHU’s Faculty of Pharmacy and lead researcher in the study.
“Adolescents are a risk group as far as lifestyles are concerned because they are starting to take their own decisions about what they want and do not want to eat, and they are also going through a period in which many of them have stopped doing any sport, etc.,” pointed out Labayen.
The results of this study have confirmed the hypothesis and show that the percentage of dietary fat is significantly linked to an increase in abdominal adiposity and that this relation is also independent of the levels of physical exercise adolescents do. “Despite the fact that physical activity is usually a prevention factor, in this particular case it is not able to counteract it,” pointed out the UPV/EHU researcher. So “these results point to dietary fat content as a key risk factor in abdominal adiposity in adolescents, no matter how much physical exercise they do,” stressed Labayen.
I. Labayen, J. R. Ruiz, F.B. Ortega, I. Huybrechts, G. Rodríguez, D. Jiménez-Pavón, R. Roccaldo, E. Nova, K. Widhall, A. Kafatos, D. Molnar, O. Androutsos, L. A. Moreno. High fat diets are associated with higher abdominal adiposity regardless of physical activity in adolescents; the HELENA study. Clinical Nutrition, January 2014