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Nutritional Behaviors of Polish Adolescents: Results of the Wise Nutrition—Healthy Generation Project

Myszkowska-Ryciak, Joanna, Harton, Anna, Lange, Ewa, Laskowski, Wacław, Gajewska, Danuta
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.7
adolescents, breads, fast foods, fish, food groups, fruits, gender, healthy eating habits, milk, nutrition education, nutritional adequacy, nutritional intervention, nutritional status, peers, questionnaires, schools, soft drinks, students, sweets, underweight, vegetables, whole grain foods
Background: Recognition of the dominant dietary behaviors with respect to gender and specific age groups can be helpful in the development of targeted and effective nutritional education. The purpose of the study was to analyze the prevalence of the selected eating behaviors (favorable: Consuming breakfasts, fruit, vegetables, milk and milk beverages, whole grain bread and fish; adverse: Regular consumption of sweets, sugared soft drinks and fast-foods) among Polish adolescents. Methods: Data on the nutritional behaviors were collected using a questionnaire. Body mass status was assessed based on weight and height measurements. Results: 14,044 students aged 13–19 years old from 207 schools participated in the study. Significant differences were found in the nutritional behaviors depending on age, gender and nutritional status. Favorable nutritional behaviors corresponded with each other, the same relationship was observed for adverse behaviors. The frequency of the majority of healthy eating behaviors decreased with age, whereas the incidence of adverse dietary behaviors increased with age. Underweight adolescents more often consumed sugared soft drinks, sweets and fast food compared to their peers with normal and excessive body mass. Conclusions: A significant proportion of adolescents showed unhealthy nutritional behaviors. Showing changes in the incidence of nutritional behaviors depending on age, gender and body weight status, we provide data that can inform the development of dietary interventions tailored to promote specific food groups among adolescents on different stages of development to improve their diet quality.