Adolescents' food-related beliefs and behaviours: a cross sectional study

Nowak, Madeleine, and Büttner, Petra (2002) Adolescents' food-related beliefs and behaviours: a cross sectional study. Nutrition and Dietetics, 59 (4). pp. 244-252.

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Objective: To examine differences in food and nutrition-related beliefs, behaviours and concerns across school years in a northern Australian provincial high school population.

Design: A cross-sectional study of high school students using self-administered questionnaires.

Subjects: 902 high school students in years 8, 10, 11 and 12.

Setting: Four of the six private schools in Townsville.

Main outcome measures: Description of the food-related beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and behaviours of high school students.

Statistical analyses: Statistical tests used were summary statistics (mean and standard deviation, median and interquartile range); frequency distributions; chi-square test; chi-square test for trend; Kruskal-Wallis test; and logistic regression (prevalence odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals).

Results: Only 45% of these adolescents had eaten food from all five core food groups (cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat) daily during the previous week. Older girls ate dairy products less often than younger girls. Knowledge of minimum core food requirements for adolescent health was poor. The majority of students reported a relationship between negative emotions and food. The major concerns about food were fat, sugar and pesticide content, and the major sources of information about food and nutrition were television, parents and schools, with magazines an important information source for girls.

Conclusion: The intake of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and cereal foods were below recommended dietary intake, and knowledge of requirements of these foods was also low. Dealing with negative emotions may be a more useful weight control measure for some adolescents than providing nutritional advice. A combination of the education and health sectors and the media and food industry would provide a powerful mechanism for promoting healthful eating habits among adolescents.

Item ID: 13651
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1747-0080
Keywords: adolescent health; food behaviour
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2010 01:43
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics > 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920411 Nutrition @ 100%
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