Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Dietary patterns in relation to socio-economic and lifestyle characteristics among Greek adolescents: a multivariate analysis

Georgia Kourlabaa1, Demosthenes B Panagiotakosa1 c1, Kostas Mihasa2, Alevizos Alevizosa2, Kostas Marayiannisa2, Anargiros Mariolisa2 and Yannis Tountasa3

a1 Department of Nutrition Science–Dietetics, Harokopio University, 70 El. Venizelou Street, 17671 Athens, Greece

a2 Health Center Vyronas, Athens, Greece

a3 Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece


Background We sought to evaluate the relationship between selected lifestyle and socio-economic characteristics and dietary habits of Greek adolescents.

Methods During 2004, 2118 school adolescents were selected from twelve schools in Vyronas region, Athens. Dietary intake was assessed through a semi-quantitative FFQ. Principal components analysis was applied to extract dietary patterns.

Results Seven components, explaining the 50 % of the total variation in intake, were extracted. Component 1 (‘junk food’ pattern) was heavily loaded by the consumption of ‘sweet’ and ‘salty’ snacks, soft drinks and other ‘fast foods’. Component 2 was characterized as ‘red meat’ consumption pattern. Component 3 was characterized by the consumption of vegetables, fruits and juices. Component 4 was characterized by the intake of dairy products, pasta and wholegrain bread. Component 5 can be described as rice, fish, potatoes and poultry intake. Component 6 was characterized by the consumption of ‘traditional Greek cooked foods’ and legumes, and component 7 was characterized by the consumption of eggs and white bread. Time spent watching television was positively associated with the ‘junk food’ pattern and inversely associated with the ‘vegetarian/healthy’ pattern. Moreover, the ‘junk food’ pattern was positively related to smoking status and the ‘vegetarian/healthy’ pattern was positively correlated with sports activities outside school.

Conclusion An unhealthy dietary behaviour is associated with an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Taking into account the fact that unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle have been associated with increased obesity prevalence, school- or community-based programmes should be conducted promoting healthy dietary and lifestyle behaviours.

(Received January 23 2008)

(Accepted October 02 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Email