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Estimated dietary intake of polyphenols in European adolescents: the HELENA study

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge about polyphenols intakes and their determinants among adolescents might be helpful for planning targeted prevention strategies at an early age.

Methods

In the European multicenter cross-sectional HELENA study of 2006–2007, 2428 subjects (47% boys) had data on dietary intake of polyphenols from 2 non-consecutive 24 h recalls via linking with the Phenol-Explorer database. Differences by sex, age, country, BMI, maternal education, paternal education, family affluence, smoking status, alcohol use, and physical activity were explored by linear regression.

Results

Median, lower and upper quartiles of polyphenol intakes were 326, 167 and 564 mg/day, respectively. Polyphenol intake was significantly higher in the oldest (16–17.49 years), girls, non-Mediterranean countries, lowest BMI, highest paternal education, and alcohol consumers. Main food contributors were fruit (23%, mainly apple and pear, i.e., 16.3%); chocolate products (19.2%); and fruit and vegetable juices (15.6%). Main polyphenol classes were flavonoids (75–76% of total) and phenolic acids (17–19% of total). The three most consumed polyphenols were proanthocyanidin polymers (> 10 mers), hesperidin, and proanthocyanidin 4–6 oligomers.

Conclusion

The current study provided for the first time numbers on the total polyphenol intake and their main food sources in a heterogeneous group of European adolescents. Major differences with adult populations are the lower polyphenol consumption and the major food sources, such as chocolate and biscuits. The discussed determinants and polyphenol types already point to some important population groups that need to be targeted in future public health initiatives.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all fieldworkers and all participating adolescents. We acknowledge the work of the Phenol explorer team.

Funding

The HELENA Study was carried out with the financial support of the European Community Sixth RTD Framework Programme (Contract FOODCT-2005-007034). The writing group takes sole responsibility for the content of this article. The European Community is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The first author was sponsored as PhD student by Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP, Indonesia).

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Contributions

RWW formulated the research question, has analysed the data, prepared the estimation of polyphenols, and wrote a draft of the paper. NM helped in refining the research question, setting up the database, analyzing the data and did editing of the first draft. NM, SH and LAM are PhD supervisors of RWW; LAM was the coordinator of the HELENA project. From the International Agency for Research on Cancer, we received help from AS, VK and IH in the linking to their Phenol-Explorer database containing the polyphenol concentrations in food items. All other authors were involved in the HELENA project (coordinator or data collection in their country; this was a European study in 10 centers). All authors have read the draft and agreed on the final version.

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Correspondence to Ratih Wirapuspita Wisnuwardani.

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Wisnuwardani, R.W., De Henauw, S., Androutsos, O. et al. Estimated dietary intake of polyphenols in European adolescents: the HELENA study. Eur J Nutr 58, 2345–2363 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1787-x

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Keywords

  • Polyphenol
  • Consumption
  • Food contributors
  • HELENA
  • Determinants
  • Mediterranean