Glycaemic index and body fat distribution in children: The results of the ARCA project

G. Barba, S. Sieri, M. Dello Russo, E. Donatiello, A. Formisano, F. Lauria, S. Sparano, A. Nappo, P. Russo, F. Brighenti, V. Krogh, A. Siani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Various dietary factors may play a critical role in body weight regulation. Among them, the role of glycaemic index (GI) remains a subject of debate. The present study aimed at evaluating the association between dietary GI, body mass index (BMI) and body fat distribution in school children. Methods and results: 3734 Italian children (M/. F = 1883/1851; age range 6-11 years) were cross-sectionally screened for anthropometry (BMI, waist circumference), lifestyle and clinical history (questionnaire) and dietary habits (1-year food frequency questionnaire). Energy and macronutrients intake, dietary GI and glycaemic load (GL) were calculated.GI was directly associated with age, waist and BMI z-scores, energy, fibre and carbohydrate intake (r: from 0.080 to 0.238, P <0.001), and negatively with fat intake (r: -0.060, P <0.0001). BMI, waist circumference, energy intake, carbohydrate, protein and fibre intake and GL significantly increased, whilst fat intake decreased, going up across quartiles of residuals of dietary GI. At linear regression analysis, GI was associated with BMI and waist z-scores independently of age, sex, parental overweight/obesity, parental education, and energy intake, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre and GL residuals. In particular, GI was the sole nutritional factor among those under investigation, significantly associated with waist circumference.Controlling for covariates, the risk of overweight/obesity or of central fat distribution was almost two-folds higher in the upper quartile in comparison to the lowest quartile of dietary GI. Conclusion: Dietary GI is an independent determinant of body fat distribution in children as well as of total adiposity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Children
  • Fat distribution
  • Glycaemic index
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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