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Association between diet quality in adolescence and adulthood and knee symptoms in adulthood: a 25-year cohort study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 01:01 authored by Meng, T, Johanna Wilson, Alison VennAlison Venn, Cicuttini, F, March, L, Cross, M, Dwyer, T, Christopher BlizzardChristopher Blizzard, Graeme JonesGraeme Jones, Laura LaslettLaura Laslett, Benny Eathakkattu AntonyBenny Eathakkattu Antony, Chang-Hai DingChang-Hai Ding
We aimed to describe associations between diet quality in adolescence and adulthood and knee symptoms in adulthood. 275 participants had adolescent diet measurements, 399 had adult diet measurements, and 240 had diet measurements in both timepoints. Diet quality was assessed by Dietary Guidelines Index (DGI), reflecting adherence to Australian Dietary Guidelines. Knee symptoms were collected using Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Data were analysed using zero-inflated negative binomial regressions. The overall adolescent DGI was not associated with adult knee symptoms, although lower intake of discretionary foods (e.g. cream, alcohol, bacon, and cake) in adolescence was associated with lower pain (Mean ratio (MR): 0.96) and dysfunction (MR: 0.94). The overall adult DGI was not associated with knee symptoms; however, limiting saturated fat was associated with lower WOMAC (Pain: MR 0.93; stiffness: MR 0.93; dysfunction: MR 0.91), drinking water was associated with lower stiffness (MR 0.90) and fruit intake was associated with lower dysfunction (MR 0.90). Higher DGI for dairy in adulthood was associated with higher WOMAC (Pain: MR 1.07; stiffness: MR 1.13; dysfunction: MR 1.11). Additionally, the score increases from adolescence to adulthood were not associated with adult knee symptoms, except for associations between score increase in limiting saturated fat and lower stiffness (MR 0.89) and between score increase in fruit intake and lower dysfunction (MR 0.92). In conclusion, the overall diet quality in adolescence and adulthood were not associated with knee symptoms in adulthood. However, some diet components may affect later knee symptoms.


National Health & Medical Research Council


Publication title

The British Journal of Nutrition




Student Life and Enrichment


C A B I Publishing

Place of publication

C/O Publishing Division, Wallingford, England, Oxon, Ox10 8De

Rights statement

© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Prevention of human diseases and conditions

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