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Dietary Intake and Nutrition-Related Knowledge in a Sample of Lebanese Adolescents of Contrasting Socioeconomic Status

Nabhani-Zeidan, Maya, Naja, Farah, Nasreddine, Lara
adolescents, adults, ascorbic acid, cross-sectional studies, eating habits, energy, females, food intake, interviews, iron, linear models, lipids, males, meat, nutrient intake, nutrition knowledge, oils, questionnaires, socioeconomic status, vegetables, vitamin A, Lebanon
Socioeconomic status (SES) is postulated to be a major predictor of dietary intake and nutrition-related knowledge in adults. To date, very few studies have addressed this effect among adolescents. To explore differences in nutrient intake and nutrition-related knowledge among adolescents of contrasting SES in Lebanon. In a cross-sectional survey, 209 males and females, aged 17 to 19 years, were recruited from a private university with high tuition and a free public university in Beirut. The participants completed a multicomponent, self-administered questionnaire that inquired about demographic characteristics and nutrition-related knowledge. Three nonconsecutive 24-hour dietary recalls were obtained through interviews. Energy-adjusted means of dietary intake and age-adjusted nutrition-related knowledge were compared between groups using a general linear model. Adolescents in the high-SES group consumed more vegetables, meats, and fats and oils (p < .05). Energy and nutrient intake analysis showed that adolescents in the high-SES group consumed significantly higher amounts of calories, protein, fat, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron (p <.001) and significantly lower amounts of carbohydrates (p < .05). Nutritional knowledge, although high among all participants, was higher in the high-SES group (p < .05). Although both groups showed good nutrition-related knowledge, SES significantly affected dietary intake in a sample of Lebanese adolescents. This warrants consideration of other factors, such as cost and environment, that may modulate eating behavior among adolescents from different socioeconomic strata.