Diet, Nutrition, Lifestyle

Circulating fetuin-A, a marker for hepatic fat accumulation, has been related to a higher risk of T2D and CVD. Little is known about dietary or nutritional determinants of fetuin-A concentrations. Together with partners from the Helmholtz Center Munich, we found in the Bavarian Food Consumption Survey II (BVSII) higher energy intake nonsignificantly associated with higher fetuin-A concentrations (Nimptsch et al, Br J Nutr 2015). There was no clear association for energyproviding nutrients, but higher alcohol intake and milk and dairy products were associated with lower fetuin-A. Our data indicate that among dietary factors particularly alcohol consumption and potentially dairy intake may be related to fetuin-A concentrations.
Paraoxonase (PON1) and arylesterase (AE) are functions of the enzyme paraoxonase, synthesized by the liver and circulating in plasma to protect lipoproteins against oxidative modification. Excessive alcohol consumption may reduce serum PON1 and AE activities but less is known for habitual alcohol intake. In BVSII we found no strong association between alcohol and PON1 and AE (Schwedhelm et al, Br J Nutr, 2016). PON1 activity was lowest in non-drinkers and highest with medium alcohol consumption. AE activity increased with alcohol consumption. Associations were attenuated after adjustment for HDL concentrations. These results do not support the hypothesis that habitual alcohol consumption is related to important alterations in PON1 and AE activities.

Physical activity (PA) is an important factor in the etiology of chronic diseases, but less is known for activity related energy expenditure (AEE). Traditionally, AEE has been estimated from questionnaires. Accelerometers might help to objectively measure PA but it is unclear to what extent this may explain the variance in AEE. Further, variability in PA, observational time needed to estimate habitual PA, and reliability are unknown. In a systematic review, the variance of AEE explained by accelerometer assessed PA was 4-80% (Jeran et al, Int J Obes 2016). Inclusion of other predictors significantly increased it to 13-41%. Thus, data on predicted AEE based on accelerometry assessed PA need to be interpreted cautiously. As part of the ActivE Study, we aim to derive more precise prediction models. We assessed 24-h-PA in participants wearing accelerometers over two weeks (Jaeschke et al) and found individual PA highly variable between days, but the day of assessment or the day of the week explained only small parts of this variance. Our data indicate that one week of assessment is  necessary for reliable estimation of habitual PA.

Assessment of the association between diet, nutrition, and metabolic factors on a population level can best be achieved with the use of well-designed epidemiologic studies. We participate in the European Nutritional Phenotype Assessment and Data Sharing Initiative (ENPADASI), supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) within the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life" (HDHL). The objective is to deliver a research infrastructure with data from a variety of nutritional studies. This will foster the analyses of diet, nutrition, and metabolic factors in different populations.

Although diet and physical activity are among the main risk factors for chronic diseases, their determinants are less clear. Within the Knowledge Hub Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity Choice (DEDIPAC), which is part of the European JPI HDHL we investigate determinants of diet and physical activity, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Nimptsch K, Janke J, Pischon T, Linseisen J. Association between dietary factors and plasma fetuin-A concentrations in the general population. Br J Nutr 2015;114:1278-85.

Schwedhelm C, Nimptsch K, Bub A, Pischon T, Linseisen J. Association between alcohol consumption and serum paraoxonase and arylesterase activities: a cross-sectional study within the Bavarian population. Br J Nutr 2016;115:730-6.

Jeran S, Steinbrecher A, Pischon T. Prediction of activity related energy expenditure using accelerometer derived physical activity under free-living conditions-a systematic review. Int J Obes (Lond) 2016.