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Open Access Research article

Influence of health behaviours on the incidence of infection and allergy in adolescents: the AFINOS cross-sectional study

Esther Nova1*, David Martínez-Gómez12, Sonia Gómez-Martínez1, Ana M Veses1, Maria E Calle3, Oscar L Veiga2 and Ascensión Marcos1

Author Affiliations

1 Immunonutrition Group, Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition. ICTAN-CSIC, C/Jose Antonio Novais 10, 28040 Madrid, Spain

2 Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement. Faculty of Teaching Training and Education, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

3 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-19

Published: 9 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Some health behaviours are liable to affect the incidence of allergies and/or common infections in young people; however, the extent and ways in which these might occur are mostly unknown. This study examines the association of health behaviours related to physical activity, sedentariness, diet and sleep with allergy and infection symptoms in adolescents, and also with biological markers that might mediate disease incidence.

Methods

The study comprised a total of 2054 adolescents (50.7% girls) from the Madrid region of Spain. The incidence of infection and allergy symptoms three months prior to the study was obtained from a self-administered questionnaire. Physical and sedentary activities, height and weight, food habits and sleep duration were also self-reported and their influence on infection and allergy incidence was assessed by logistic regression analysis. Blood biomarkers (IgE, eosinophil percentage, leptin, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10) were evaluated in a subsample of 198 subjects.

Results

Adequate sleep duration (OR = 0.79, 95%CI: 0.64 to 0.97) and unhealthy weight status (overweight/obesity) (OR = 1.35, 95%CI: 1.04-1.74) were independently associated with decreased and increased allergy incidence, respectively. No significant association was observed with infection incidence. IgE and leptin differed between adolescents with and without allergy symptoms. In regression models IgE was significantly associated with inadequate sleep duration and leptin with weight status.

Conclusion

Excess weight and inadequate sleep duration are independently associated with the incidence of allergy symptoms in adolescents. Adequate sleep duration and weight during adolescence might be relevant for a decreased risk of suffering allergy symptoms.

Keywords:
Allergy; Healthy habits; Infection; Overweight; Obesity; Sleep; IgE; Leptin