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Using reduced rank regression methods to identify dietary patterns associated with obesity: a cross-country study among European and Australian adolescents

  • Inge Huybrechts (a1), Sandrine Lioret (a2) (a3) (a4), Theodora Mouratidou (a5), Marc J. Gunter (a1), Yannis Manios (a6), Mathilde Kersting (a7), Frederic Gottrand (a8), Anthony Kafatos (a9), Stefaan De Henauw (a10), Magdalena Cuenca-García (a11), Kurt Widhalm (a12), Marcela Gonzales-Gross (a13) (a14) (a15), Denes Molnar (a16), Luis A. Moreno (a5) and Sarah A. McNaughton (a4)...


This study aims to examine repeatability of reduced rank regression (RRR) methods in calculating dietary patterns (DP) and cross-sectional associations with overweight (OW)/obesity across European and Australian samples of adolescents. Data from two cross-sectional surveys in Europe (2006/2007 Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study, including 1954 adolescents, 12–17 years) and Australia (2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, including 1498 adolescents, 12–16 years) were used. Dietary intake was measured using two non-consecutive, 24-h recalls. RRR was used to identify DP using dietary energy density, fibre density and percentage of energy intake from fat as the intermediate variables. Associations between DP scores and body mass/fat were examined using multivariable linear and logistic regression as appropriate, stratified by sex. The first DP extracted (labelled ‘energy dense, high fat, low fibre’) explained 47 and 31 % of the response variation in Australian and European adolescents, respectively. It was similar for European and Australian adolescents and characterised by higher consumption of biscuits/cakes, chocolate/confectionery, crisps/savoury snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, and lower consumption of yogurt, high-fibre bread, vegetables and fresh fruit. DP scores were inversely associated with BMI z-scores in Australian adolescent boys and borderline inverse in European adolescent boys (so as with %BF). Similarly, a lower likelihood for OW in boys was observed with higher DP scores in both surveys. No such relationships were observed in adolescent girls. In conclusion, the DP identified in this cross-country study was comparable for European and Australian adolescents, demonstrating robustness of the RRR method in calculating DP among populations. However, longitudinal designs are more relevant when studying diet–obesity associations, to prevent reverse causality.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: I. Huybrechts, fax +33 4 7273 8361, email


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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British Journal of Nutrition
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