Association of diet quality with dietary inflammatory potential in youth
Background: Diet plays a crucial role in the regulation of chronic inflammation. The sparse
evidence available in adult populations indicates that diet quality is linked to the dietary
inflammatory potential; however, this association has not been established in youth.
Design: Data were obtained from a representative national sample of 2889 children and young
people in Spain, aged 6–24 years. The dietary inflammatory potential was measured by the
dietary inflammatory index (DII), and diet quality by three conceptually different measures: the
Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for children and adolescents (KIDMED), energy density, and
total dietary antioxidants capacity.
Results: The mean DII was 1.96 ± 0.76 units Scoring for the KIDMED index and the total dietary
antioxidant capacity significantly decreased (p < 0.001 and p = 0.030, respectively) across
quintiles of the DII, whereas the opposite was true for energy density (p < 0.001). The effect
size of these associations was strongest for energy density, followed by the KIDMED index and
total dietary antioxidant capacity.
Conclusion: A healthy diet characterized by high adherence to the Mediterranean diet, high total
dietary antioxidant capacity, or low energy density was linked to greater anti-inflammatory
potential of the diet, as measured by the DII.