Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of individualised dietary and lifestyle counselling, primarily aimed to decrease serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, on the clustering of overweight-related cardiometabolic risk factors in children.
Design and participants: The 7-month-old study children were randomized either to counselling (n = 540) or control group (n = 522).
Main outcome measures: The 5- to 15-year-old participants who fulfilled the international criteria were classified as overweight. Being in the highest [lowest for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol] age- and gender-specific quintile of body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, serum triglycerides, HDL cholesterol or glucose was considered a risk factor. A cluster was defined as having high BMI and ≥2 other risk factors.
Results: The counselling did not reduce the prevalence of overweight in 5- to 15-year-old participants. From age 7 onwards, the proportion of children with ≥2 risk factors was lower in the intervention than in the control group (p = 0.005). At the age of 15 years, 13.0% of girls and 10.8% of boys in the intervention group and 17.5% of girls and 18.8% of boys in the control group had the risk factor cluster (p = 0.046 for main effect of the study group). Having even one risk factor at the age of 5 years predicted the clustering of risk factors at the age of 15 years (OR: 3.8, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Repeated, individualized dietary and lifestyle counselling may reduce the clustering of overweight-related cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents even though the counselling is not intense enough to prevent overweight.