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Regular Nut Consumption Linked To Lower BMI in a Cohort of Australian Adolescents

Ross Grant 1, Ayse Bilgin2, Carol Zeuschner3, Trish Guy4, Robin Pearce5, Bevan Hokin3, John Ashton4

1 Australasian Research Institute, Sydney Australia.
2 Macquarie University.
3 Sydney Adventist Hospital, Sydney Australia.
4 Sanitarium Health Food Company, Berkeley vale Australia,
5 Avondale College, Coorangbong Australia.


To investigate the effect of nut consumption and a vegetable-rich diet on selected markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a cohort of Australian adolescents


Two hundred and fifteen adolescents (age 14-15 yrs) were recruited from 5 secondary schools within the Sydney and Hunter regions of New South Wales, Australia. Approximately 33% of the participants were classified as vegetarian. Key physiological and biochemical markers of health were compared against responses to a modified SPANS 2004 diet and lifestyle survey using a General Linear Model (GLM) univariate statistical procedure.


Adolescents consuming predominantly vegetarian foods showed significantly better scores on recognised markers of cardiovascular health, including BMI, waist circumference, total Chol/HDL ratio and LDL. Adolescents consuming nuts more than once per week, showed lower scores for BMI (20.0, 95% CI 19.3 to 20.7, p<0.005) and serum glucose (4.37 mmol/L, 95% CI 4.21 to 4.53, p<0.05) irrespective of their vegetarian status. Exercise on it own showed no association with any of the health markers tested.


These results suggest that diet plays a dominant role in promoting health in the adolescent age group. While a vegetable-rich diet was shown to be beneficial to adolescent health, nut consumption was independently associated with reduced body mass and blood glucose levels. Nut consumption may therefore reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, possibly through promotion of insulin sensitivity and improving lipid profile.