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(i) To examine associations between young adults’ meal routines and practices (e.g. food preparation, meal skipping, eating on the run) and key dietary indicators (fruit/vegetable, fast-food and sugar-sweetened beverage intakes) and (ii) to develop indices of protective and risky meal practices most strongly associated with diet.
Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, Minnesota (USA).
A diverse sample of community college and public university students (n 1013).
Meal routines and practices most strongly associated with healthy dietary patterns were related to home food preparation (i.e. preparing meals at home, preparing meals with vegetables) and meal regularity (i.e. routine consumption of evening meals and breakfast). In contrast, factors most strongly associated with poor dietary patterns included eating on the run, using media while eating and purchasing foods/beverages on campus. A Protective Factors Index, summing selected protective meal routines and practices, was positively associated with fruit/vegetable consumption and negatively associated with fast-food and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (P<0·001). A Risky Factors Index yielded significant, positive associations with fast-food and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (P<0·001). The probability test for the association between the Risky Factors Index and fruit/vegetable intake was P=0·05.
Meal routines and practices were significantly associated with young adults’ dietary patterns, suggesting that ways in which individuals structure mealtimes and contextual characteristics of eating likely influence food choice. Thus, in addition to considering specific food choices, it also may be important to consider the context of mealtimes in developing dietary messaging and guidelines.
To assess change in the 4-year prevalence (2006–2009) of the use of food in school fundraising and as rewards and incentives for students, following implementation of federal legislation in the USA in 2006.
Serial cross-sectional design using trend analysis to assess school-level data collected over four consecutive years from 2006/2007 to 2009/2010.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
Convenience sample of middle and high schools participating in two longitudinal, aetiological studies that examined youth, their environment and obesity-related factors.
A significant and sustained decrease was demonstrated in the use of low-nutrient, energy-dense foods in school fundraising activities and the use of food and food coupons as rewards and incentives by teachers and school staff.
Results support the utility of policy and legislative action as a tool for creating healthy, sustainable environmental change.
To examine (i) situational characteristics of young adults’ eating occasions, including away-from-home eating, social influences and multi-tasking, and (ii) how these characteristics are associated with specific foods/beverages consumed.
Participants logged numerous characteristics of eating occasions (n 1237) in real time over 7 d.
Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area (Minnesota, USA).
Forty-eight participants, aged 18–23 years.
Half of all eating occasions (46 %) occurred alone, 26 % occurred while watching television and 36 % involved other multi-tasking. Most participants (63 %) did not think about their food choices in advance of eating occasions. Eating that occurred in the absence of television viewing and/or other multi-tasking was less likely to include sweetened beverages and more likely to include items like water, fruit, vegetables, cereal, grains and entrées. Eating occasions occurring alone, and/or those occurring at home, were more likely to include snack foods that required little preparation (e.g. cookies, baked goods) and less likely to include more traditional meal items (e.g. fruits, vegetables, entrée items).
Overall, a large proportion of young adults’ eating occasions occurred alone, while engaging in other activities and with little advanced planning. Although many young adults’ eating occasions consist of a wide range of highly processed, energy-dense, convenience products, more traditional meal settings (i.e. eating at home with others in the absence of multi-tasking) may result in more structured mealtimes and better food choices, such as more fruits and vegetables. Effective behavioural strategies promoting positive eating patterns, including home meal preparation, are urgently needed among young adults.
To examine neighbourhood food environments, adolescent nutrition and weight status.
Cross-sectional, observational study.
Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan region, Minnesota, USA.
A total of 349 adolescents were recruited to the study. Participants completed 24 h dietary recalls and had their weight and height measured. They also reported demographic information and other diet-related behaviours. Geographic Information Systems were used to examine the availability and proximity of food outlets, particularly those captured within the 800, 1600 and/or 3000 m network buffers around participants’ homes and schools.
Adjusting for gender, age and socio-economic status, adolescents’ sugar-sweetened beverage intake was associated with residential proximity to restaurants (including fast food), convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail facilities within the 800 and/or 1600 m residential buffers (P ≤ 0·01). BMI Z-score and percentage body fat were positively associated with the presence of a convenience store within a 1600 m buffer. Other individual-level factors, such as energy, fruit and vegetable intake, as well as convenience store and fast food purchasing, were not significantly associated with features of the residential neighbourhood food environment in adjusted models. In addition, school neighbourhood environments yielded few associations with adolescent outcomes.
Many factors are likely to have an important role in influencing adolescent dietary intake and weight status. Interventions aimed at increasing neighbourhood access to healthy foods, as well as other approaches, are needed.
The objectives of this paper are to (1) introduce the concept of upstream and downstream public health approaches and discuss diet assessment issues in that context, and (2) provide examples of diet assessment methods and challenges in assessing environmental factors influencing eating patterns.
Dietary assessment of environmental factors is discussed as they relate to nutrition interventions for school-aged children, although the issues transcend population characteristics. Examples of assessment challenges in measuring ‘dietary environments’ are drawn from the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH), Teens Eating for Energy and Nutrition at School (TEENS) and Trying Alternative Cafeteria Options in Schools (TACOS) studies.
The healthfulness of our ‘dietary environments’ (which may include food availability, social norms around food choice and the effect of pricing, policy and promotion on food choice) may be more important in determining what people consume than their individual decision-making about food choice. There is a dearth of published information to inform us on how to assess these ‘dietary environments’.
The purpose of this paper is to present longitudinal data on nutrient intakes of youth with emphases on differences by sex and race/ethnicity. Nutrients selected for examination are those implicated in chronic disease.
24-hour dietary recalls were collected from a cohort of third, fifth and eighth graders (n=1874).
Setting and subjects:
The sample is drawn from the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health and includes students from California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.
Across the total sample, nutrient intakes met recommended levels except that total fat, saturated fat and sodium consistently exceeded recommendations and calcium and iron intake of girls consistently fell short of recommended levels. Nutrient consumption between third and eighth grade differed by sex and race/ethnicity for a number of nutrients. In particular, females' intake of energy from total fat, calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin D decreased over time relative to males' intakes, controlling for overall energy intake. Compared with the other ethnic/racial groups, African-American students increased their intake of energy from total fat and saturated fat over time.
Our results suggest that the diets of youth change over time, and negative trends are more common in females than in males and in African-American and Hispanics compared with Caucasian students. Nutrition education and intervention are needed throughout childhood and adolescence with an emphasis on choosing healthful foods. In addition, greater attention to differential opportunities and reinforcements for females and males, and Caucasian, Hispanic and African-American students is warranted.
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