Association between junk food consumption and cardiometabolic risk factors in a national sample of Iranian children and adolescents population: the CASPIAN-V study

  • Bahar Azemati
  • Roya Kelishadi
  • Zeinab Ahadi
  • Gita Shafiee
  • MajZoubeh Taheri
  • Hasan Ziaodini
  • Mostafa QorbaniEmail author
  • Ramin HeshmatEmail author
Original Article



Only a few studies have attempted to assess the relationship between junk food consumption and cardiometabolic risk factors in Iranian children and adolescents; therefore, the aim of our study was to determine the association between junk food intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in this population.

Study design

This is a cross-sectional study.


A total of 14,400 students were selected from 30 provinces of Iran using multistage, stratified cluster sampling method. Information about student’s lifestyle, health behaviors and health status was obtained through a validated questionnaire. Blood pressure was measured and anthropometric indices were calculated. Blood samples were drawn from 3,303 students for biochemical tests. In our study, sugar-sweetened beverages, salty snacks, sweets and fast foods were considered as junk foods.


The mean age of participants was 12.42 ± 2.97 years. Those with metabolic syndrome were more likely to live in urban areas (P = 0.004) and have higher BMI (P < 0.0001). Junk food intake was not related to metabolic syndrome; however, it was associated with increased odds of high BP (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.09, 1.39), high SBP (OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.09, 1.75), and high DBP (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04, 1.35), overweight (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.08, 1.39) and excess weight (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04, 1.25).


Junk food consumption plays an important role in childhood overweight and is related to high blood pressure in this population.

Level of evidence

Level III, case-control analytic studies.


Junk foods Cardiometabolic risk factors Adolescents Children Metabolic syndrome Excess weight 



This nationwide survey was performed in Iran with cooperation of Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the Child Health Promotion Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center of Tehran University.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Study protocols were approved by the Ethics committee of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Project number: 194049.

Informed consent

After complete explanation of the study objectives and protocols, written and verbal informed consent was obtained from the parents and students, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bahar Azemati
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roya Kelishadi
    • 3
  • Zeinab Ahadi
    • 1
  • Gita Shafiee
    • 1
  • MajZoubeh Taheri
    • 4
  • Hasan Ziaodini
    • 5
  • Mostafa Qorbani
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  • Ramin Heshmat
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chronic Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences InstituteTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, School of Public HealthLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-communicable DiseaseIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  4. 4.Office of Adolescents and School HealthMinistry of Health and Medical EducationTehranIran
  5. 5.Health Psychology Department, Research Center of Education Ministry StudiesTehranIran
  6. 6.Non-communicable Diseases Research CenterAlborz University of Medical SciencesKarajIran
  7. 7.Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences InstituteTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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