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To examine demographic and behavioural correlates of high consumption of soft drinks (non-alcoholic sugar-sweetened carbonated drinks excluding energy drinks) among Australian adolescents and to explore the associations between high consumption and soft drink perceptions and accessibility.
Cross-sectional self-completion survey and height and weight measurements.
Australian secondary schools.
Students aged 12–17 years participating in the 2012–13 National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey (n 7835).
Overall, 14 % of students reported consuming four or more cups (≥1 litres) of soft drinks each week (‘high soft drink consumers’). Demographic factors associated with high soft drink consumption were being male and having at least $AU 40 in weekly spending money. Behavioural factors associated with high soft drink consumption were low fruit intake, consuming energy drinks on a weekly basis, eating fast foods at least once weekly, eating snack foods ≥14 times/week, watching television for >2 h/d and sleeping for <8 h/school night. Students who perceived soft drinks to be usually available in their home, convenient to buy and good value for money were more likely to be high soft drink consumers, as were students who reported usually buying these drinks when making a beverage purchase from the school canteen/vending machine.
High soft drink consumption clusters with other unhealthy lifestyle behaviours among Australian secondary-school students. Interventions focused on reducing the availability of soft drinks (e.g. increased taxes, restricting their sale in schools) as well as improved education on their harms are needed to lower adolescents’ soft drink intake.
To examine demographic and behavioural correlates of unhealthy snack-food consumption among Australian secondary-school students and the association between their perceptions of availability, convenience and intake with consumption.
Cross-sectional survey of students’ eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviours using validated instruments administered via an online questionnaire.
Australian secondary schools across all states/territories.
Secondary-school students aged 12–17 years participating in the 2009–10 National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey (n 12 188).
Approximately one in five students (21 %) reported consuming unhealthy snack foods ≥14 times/week (‘frequent snackers’). After adjusting for all covariates, older students and those with a BMI of ≥25 kg/m2 were less likely to be frequent snackers, while students who reported high fast-food and high sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and those who watched television for >2 h/d were more likely to snack frequently. Furthermore, after adjusting for all covariates and demographic factors, students who agreed that snack foods are usually available at home, convenient to buy and that they eat too many snack foods were more likely to be snacking frequently. Conversely, students who agreed that fruit is a convenient snack were less likely to be frequent snackers.
Frequent unhealthy snack-food consumption appears to cluster with other poor health behaviours. Perceptions of availability and convenience are factors most readily amenable to change, and findings suggest interventions should focus on decreasing the availability of unhealthy snack foods in the home and promoting healthier options such as fruit as convenient snacks.
To assess the association between socio-economic position (SEP) and poor eating behaviours in a large representative sample of Australian secondary-school students.
Cross-sectional survey of students’ vegetable, fruit, sugar-sweetened beverage and fast-food consumption assessed using validated instruments and collected via a web-based self-report format.
Secondary schools across all Australian states and territories.
Secondary-school students (n 12 188; response rate: 54 %) aged 12–17 years participating in the 2009–10 National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey.
Overall, 25 % of students reported consuming ≤1 serving of vegetables/d and 29 % reported eating ≤1 serving of fruit/d. Fourteen per cent of students reported drinking at least 1–2 cups of sugar-sweetened beverages/d while 9 % reported eating fast food ≥3 times/week. After adjusting for other demographic factors, students of lower-SEP areas were more likely to report low intake of vegetables (F(4, 231) = 3·61, P = 0·007) and high frequency of consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (F(4, 231) = 8·41, P < 0·001) and fast food (F(4, 231) = 4·59, P = 0·001) compared with students of high-SEP neighbourhoods. A positive SEP association was found for fruit consumption among female students only (F(4, 231) = 4·20, P = 0·003). Those from lower-SEP areas were also more likely to engage in multiple poor eating behaviours (F(4, 231)=5·80, P < 0·001).
Results suggest that socio-economic disparities in Australian adolescents’ eating behaviours do exist, with students residing in lower-SEP neighbourhoods faring less well than those from high-SEP neighbourhoods. Reducing social inequalities in eating behaviours among young people should be a key consideration of future preventive strategies.
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