JOURNAL ARTICLE

Food preparation and purchasing roles among adolescents: associations with sociodemographic characteristics and diet quality

Nicole I Larson, Mary Story, Marla E Eisenberg, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2006, 106 (2): 211-8
16442868

OBJECTIVE: To describe adolescent involvement in preparing and shopping for food and examine if extent of involvement is related to diet quality.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study design. Past week frequency of involvement in preparing and shopping for food was self-reported on the Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) survey. Dietary intake was assessed using the Youth/Adolescent Food Frequency Questionnaire.

SUBJECTS/SETTING: Middle school and high school students from Minneapolis/St Paul, MN, public schools.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Associations between involvement and sociodemographic characteristics were examined using cross tabulations. General linear modeling was used to compare dietary intakes of adolescents across different levels of involvement in preparing and shopping for food.

RESULTS: The majority of adolescents reported helping prepare dinner (68.6%) and nearly half reported shopping for groceries (49.8%) at least once during the past week. Greater involvement in these food tasks was related to sex (female), grade level (middle school), race (Asian American), socioeconomic status (low), family meal frequency (high), and weight status (overweight). Frequency of preparing food was related to lower intakes of fat (P<0.01) and higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, fiber, folate, and vitamin A. Preparing was related to lower intakes of carbonated beverages among female adolescents (P<0.01) and lower intakes of fried foods among male adolescents (P<0.01). In contrast, food shopping frequency was related to greater consumption of fried foods among female adolescents (P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents should be encouraged to help with meal preparation and may benefit from interventions and programs that teach skills for cooking and making healthful purchasing decisions.

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