Flavonoid Intake From Cocoa-Based Products and Adiposity Parameters in Adolescents in Spain

Emily P. Laveriano-Santos, Camila Arancibia-Riveros, Anna Tresserra-Rimbau, Sara Castro-Barquero, Ana María Ruiz-León, Ramón Estruch, Rosa Casas, Patricia Bodega, Mercedes de Miguel, Amaya de Cos-Gandoy, Jesús Martínez-Gómez, Carla Rodríguez, Gloria Santos-Beneit, Juan M. Fernández-Alvira, Rodrigo Fernández-Jiménez, Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cocoa-based products are a good source of flavonoids, which may have beneficial effects on metabolic health. Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between flavonoids from cocoa-based products and adiposity parameters in adolescents. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 944 adolescents aged 11–14 years enrolled in the SI! Program for Secondary Schools trial in Spain with available baseline data from food frequency questionnaires and anthropometric measurements [weight, height, waist circumference (WC), and fat mass percentage (% FM) by bioimpedance analysis]. Fat mass index (FMI) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were obtained by dividing fat mass by height and WC by height, respectively. Body mass index (BMI), WC, and FMI for age and gender z-score were calculated. Overweight/obesity was defined as BMI ≥ 85th percentile and excess adiposity as %FM or FMI ≥ 75th percentile. WC ≥ 90th percentile and WHtR with a 0.5 threshold were considered as criteria of abdominal obesity. Multilevel mixed-effect regressions were used to evaluate the association between flavonoids from cocoa-based products and adiposity parameters. Municipalities and schools were considered random effects. Results: Participants with a higher flavonoid intake from cocoa-based products had lower WC z-score [B = −0.04, 95% CI (−0.07; −0.01), P-for trend = 0.045] and WHtR [B = −0.01, 95% CI (−0.02; −0.01), P- for trend < 0.001]. They also had lower probability of having abdominal obesity [OR 0.66, 95% CI (0.52; 0.85), P- for trend = 0.001]. Inverse associations were observed between flavonoids from cocoa powder and BMI z-score [B = −0.08, 95% CI (−0.12; −0.05), P < 0.001], WC z-score [B = −0.06, 95% CI (−0.11; −0.02), P = 0.003], WHtR [B = −0.01, 95% CI (−0.01; −0.00), P < 0.001], %FM [B = −1.11, 95% CI (−1.48; −0.75), P < 0.001], and FMI z-score [B = −0.18, 95% CI (−0.20; −0.17), P < 0.001]. Regarding dark chocolate, an inverse association only with WC z-score [B = −0.06, 95% CI (−0.08; −0.05), P < 0.001] was found. However, no association was observed between flavonoids from milk chocolate intake and anthropometric parameters. Conclusions: A higher intake of flavonoids from cocoa-based products was associated with lower adiposity parameters and a lower probability of presenting abdominal obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number931171
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • (poly)phenols
  • cardiometabolic
  • catechin
  • epicatechin
  • obesity
  • proanthocyanidins


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