Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Adolescent dietary patterns are associated with lifestyle and family psycho-social factors

Gina L Ambrosinia1a2, Wendy H Oddya1a2 c1, Monique Robinsona1a3, Therese A O’Sullivana1, Beth P Handsa4, Nick H de Klerka1, Sven R Silburna5, Stephen R Zubricka5, Garth E Kendalla6, Fiona J Stanleya1 and Lawrence J Beilina7

a1 Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, PO Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia

a2 School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

a3 School of Psychology, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

a4 School of Health Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia

a5 Centre for Development Health, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

a6 School of Nursing & Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

a7 School of Medicine and Pharmacology, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Abstract

Objective Dietary intake during adolescence contributes to lifelong eating habits and the development of early risk factors for disease in adulthood. Few studies have examined the dietary patterns of adolescents and the social and environmental factors that may affect them during this life stage. The present study describes dietary patterns in a cohort of adolescents and examines their associations with socio-economic factors, as well as parental and adolescent risk factor behaviours.

Design A semi-quantitative FFQ was used to assess study adolescents’ usual dietary intake over the previous year. Information was collected on family functioning and various socio-economic and risk factor variables via questionnaire. Adolescents visited the study clinic for anthropometric measurements.

Setting The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study (Raine Study), Perth, Western Australia.

Subjects Adolescents (n 1631) aged 14 years from a pregnancy cohort study.

Results Factor analysis identified two distinct dietary patterns that differed predominantly in fat and sugar intakes. The ‘Western’ pattern consisted of high intakes of take-away foods, soft drinks, confectionery, French fries, refined grains, full-fat dairy products and processed meats. The ‘healthy’ pattern included high intakes of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and fish. ANOVA showed that the ‘Western’ dietary pattern was positively associated with greater television viewing and having a parent who smoked, and was inversely associated with family income. The ‘healthy’ pattern was positively associated with female gender, greater maternal education, better family functioning and being in a two-parent family, and was inversely associated with television viewing.

Conclusions The study suggests that both lifestyle factors and family psycho-social environment are related to dietary patterns in Australian adolescents.

(Received June 09 2008)

(Accepted November 18 2008)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email wendyo@ichr.uwa.edu.au

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