JOURNAL ARTICLE

Correlates of dietary resilience among socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents

L D A Stephens, S A McNaughton, D Crawford, A MacFarlane, K Ball
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011, 65 (11): 1219-32
21697821

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Despite increased risk for unhealthy diets, some socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents manage to consume a healthy diet, thereby showing 'dietary resilience'. This investigation aimed to describe the vegetable and fruit intakes of socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents, and explore the intrapersonal, social and environmental factors associated with more favourable dietary intakes among socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: The present investigation draws on data from 1014 socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents (55% girls), a sub-sample of 3264 adolescents aged 12-15 years recruited from 37 secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. The adolescents completed an online survey in 2004-2005 comprising an FFQ and questions pertaining to intrapersonal, social and environmental factors informed by the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). Frequent vegetable and fruit intake was defined as 2 times per day and 1 time per day, respectively.

RESULTS: Approximately one-third of socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents frequently consumed vegetables and fruit (boys, 29% and 27% respectively; girls, 29% and 36% respectively). Greater perceived importance of health, and frequently being served vegetables with dinner, were associated with frequent intakes. Friends' support for healthy eating was associated with boys' frequent vegetable intake. Less stringent adherence to family meal-time rules was associated with frequent intakes; however, the opposite was observed when girls were expected to eat all foods served.

CONCLUSIONS: Nutrition promotion messages targeting socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents could focus on fostering appreciation for health and providing families with strategies to increase meal-time vegetable availability. Friends could be encouraged to support healthy eating among boys. Family meal-time rules warrant further investigation.

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