AUGUSTA, Ga., June 2 (UPI) -- Adolescents who don't eat enough fiber tend to have bigger bellies and higher levels of inflammatory factors in their blood, U.S. researchers said.
Dr. Norman Pollock, of the Medical College of Georgia and the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Health Sciences University, and Dr. Samip Parikh, an internal medicine resident at GHS Health System, said the study involved 559 adolescents ages 14-18 in Augusta, Ga.
The researchers found the teens consumed on average about one-third of the daily recommended amount of fiber.
Low-fiber consumers in the study were more likely to have more of the visceral fat -- belly fat -- found in and around major organs in their abdominal cavity, Pollack said.
"The simple message is adolescents need to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains," Pollock said in a statement. "We need to push recommendations to increase fiber intake."
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found only about 1 percent of the young participants consumed the recommended daily intake of 28 grams of fiber for females and 38 grams for males.
The study appears the first to correlate dietary fiber intake with inflammatory markers in adolescents, the researchers said.