State of gut microbiota and dietary preferences in obese adolescents

  • L.K. Parkhomenko Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, Kharkiv
  • L.A. Strashok Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, Kharkiv
  • M.A. Khomenko Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, Kharkiv
  • T.P. Osolodchenko State Institution "I. Mechnikov Institute of Microbiology and Immunology of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine", Kharkiv
Keywords: obesity, adolescents, NAFLD, microbiota, eating habits


Aim. To study the features of food preferences and the state of gut microbiota in obese adolescents.

Materials and Methods. The study involved 71 obese adolescents (49.3% - girls, 50.7% -boys) aged 12-17 years, who were treated at the SI "Institute for Children and Adolescent Health Care at the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine". All the examined subjects underwent clinical, laboratory and instrumental examination; 55 obese adolescents underwent microbiological examination of feces. The control group included 18 healthy adolescents.

Results and Discussion. The study revealed that most frequently the patients complained of increased appetite - 71.8%, dyspeptic symptoms - 54.9%, and abdominal pain - 52.1%. There was a significantly higher frequency of irregular eating schedule (74.6% vs 33.3%), late dinner (69.0% vs 27.8%), fast food consumption (33.8% vs 11.1%), and a significantly lower content of vegetables and fruit in the diet (54.9% vs 83.4%) in patients compared to healthy individuals. Insulin resistance in 63.4% and pathological changes in lipid levels in 66.2% of obese adolescents were noted. According to the results of ultrasound examination, an enlarged liver was determined in 95.8% of obese adolescents; an increase in echogenicity and decreased sound conduction of the liver parenchyma were noted in 74.6% of obese subjects. Upon microbiological examination of the faeces, it was found that 78.2% of obese adolescents presented with dysbiotic changes. Glucose levels and a homeostatic model assessment were significantly higher in obese adolescents with dysbiosis.

Conclusions. Violations of eating regime and state of the gut microbiota were found in ¾ of obese adolescents.More than a half of obese adolescents presented with insulin resistance and disturbed lipid metabolism; moreover, in the presence of dysbiotic changes, disturbances of carbohydrate metabolism were more significant. There were signs of liver steatosis in the majority of obese adolescents.


Al-Hamad D, Raman V. Metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents. Transl Pediatr. 2017;6(4):397-407. doi:10.21037/tp.2017.10.02.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12. Canberra: Australian Government; 2014.

Bervoets L, Van Hoorenbeeck K, Kortleven I et al. Differences in gut microbiota composition between obese and lean children: a cross-sectional study. Gut Pathog. 2013;5(1):10. doi: 10.1186/1757-4749-5-10.

Braithwaite I, Stewart AW, Hancox RJ, Beasley R, Murphy R, Mitchell EA, et al. Fast-food consumption and body mass index in children and adolescents: an international cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2014;4: e005813.

Budreiko O. A., Nikitina L. D., Chumak S. O., Shliakhova N. V., Mykhailova E. A., Buznytska O. V. Risk factors for the formation of a complicated course of obesity in children and adolescents (guidelines). Ukr. zhurn. dyt. endokrynolohii. 2013;4:34-45. Ukrainian

Costa CS, Del-Ponte B, Assuncao MCF, Santos IS. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and body fat during childhood and adolescence: a systematic review. Public Health Nutr. 2018;21:148-59. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017001331.

Cotillard A., Kennedy S.P., Kong L.C., et al. Dietary intervention impact on gut microbial gene richness. Nature. 2013;500:585-588. doi: 10.1038/nature12480.

Del Chierico F, Nobili V, Vernocchi P et al. Gut microbiota profiling of pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and obese patients unveiled by an integrated meta-omics-based approach. Hepatology. 2017;65(2):451-464. doi: 10.1002/hep.28572.

Eloranta AM, Venаlаinen T, Soininen S, et al. Food sources of energy and nutrients in Finnish girls and boys 6-8 years of age - the PANIC study. Food Nutr Res. 2016;60:32444. doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.32444.

Fava F., Gitau R., Griffin B.A., Gibson G.R., Tuohy K.M., Lovegrove J.A. The type and quantity of dietary fat and carbohydrate alter faecal microbiome and short-chain fatty acid excretion in a metabolic syndrome "at-risk" population. Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 2013;37:216-223. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.33.

Kolodziejczyk AA, Zheng D, Shibolet O, Elinav E. The role of the microbiome in NAFLD and NASH. EMBO Mol Med. 2019;11(2):e9302. doi:10.15252/emmm.201809302.

Kopp W. How western diet and lifestyle drive the pandemic of obesity and civilization diseases. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2019;12:2221-2236. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S216791.

Kostecka M. Eating habits of preschool children and the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in adults. Pak J Med Sci. 2014;30(6):1299-1303. doi:10.12669/pjms.306.5792.

Lee JE, Yoon WY. A study of dietary habits and eating-out behavior of college students in Cheongju area. Technol Health Care. 2014;22(3):435-442. doi: 10.3233/THC-140801.

Leung C, Rivera L, Furness JB, Angus PW. The role of the gut microbiota in NAFLD. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016;13(7):412-25. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2016.85.

Mendez-Salazar E.O., Ortiz-Lopez M.G., Granados-Silvestre M.d.L., Palacios-Gonz?lez B., Menjivar M. Altered gut microbiota and compositional changes in Firmicutes and Proteobacteria in mexican undernourished and obese children. Front. Microbiol. 2018;9:2494. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02494.

Mohammadkhah AI, Simpson EB, Patterson SG, Ferguson JF. Development of the gut microbiome in children, and lifetime implications for obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Children (Basel). 2018;5(12):160. doi:10.3390/children5120160.

Nasreddine L, Naja F, Akl C, et al. Dietary, lifestyle and socio-economic correlates of overweight, obesity and central adiposity in Lebanese children and adolescents. Nutrients. 2014;10;6(3):1038-1062. doi: 10.3390/nu6031038.

Novikova V. P., Gurova M. M. Gastrointestinal tract and obesity in children. SPb: SpecLit, 2016. Russian

Panasevich M. R., Peppler W. T., Oerther D. B., Wright D. C., Rector R. S. Microbiome and NAFLD: potential influence of aerobic fitness and lifestyle modification. Physiol genomics. 2017;49(8), 385-399. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00012.2017.

Pendergast FJ, Livingstone KM, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Correlates of meal skipping in young adults: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):125. doi:10.1186/s12966-016-0451-1.

Ruggles K.V., Wang J., Volkova A., et al. Changes in the gut microbiota of urban subjects during an Immersion in the traditional diet and lifestyle of a rainforest village. mSphere. 2018; 3(4). pii: e00193-18. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00193-18.

Singer C, Stancu P, Co?oveanu S, Botu A. Non-alcoholic аatty liver disease in children. Curr Health Sci J. 2014;40(3):170-176. doi:10.12865/CHSJ.40.03.03.

WHO. Commission on ending childhood obesity. Facts and figures on childhood obesity, Geneva, 2017.

How to Cite
Parkhomenko, L., Strashok, L., Khomenko, M., & Osolodchenko, T. (2020). State of gut microbiota and dietary preferences in obese adolescents. Acta Medica Leopoliensia, 26(1), 40-46.