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Dietary intake during adolescence contributes to lifelong eating habits and the development of early risk factors for disease in adulthood. Few studies have examined the dietary patterns of adolescents and the social and environmental factors that may affect them during this life stage. The present study describes dietary patterns in a cohort of adolescents and examines their associations with socio-economic factors, as well as parental and adolescent risk factor behaviours.
A semi-quantitative FFQ was used to assess study adolescents’ usual dietary intake over the previous year. Information was collected on family functioning and various socio-economic and risk factor variables via questionnaire. Adolescents visited the study clinic for anthropometric measurements.
The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study (Raine Study), Perth, Western Australia.
Adolescents (n 1631) aged 14 years from a pregnancy cohort study.
Factor analysis identified two distinct dietary patterns that differed predominantly in fat and sugar intakes. The ‘Western’ pattern consisted of high intakes of take-away foods, soft drinks, confectionery, French fries, refined grains, full-fat dairy products and processed meats. The ‘healthy’ pattern included high intakes of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and fish. ANOVA showed that the ‘Western’ dietary pattern was positively associated with greater television viewing and having a parent who smoked, and was inversely associated with family income. The ‘healthy’ pattern was positively associated with female gender, greater maternal education, better family functioning and being in a two-parent family, and was inversely associated with television viewing.
The study suggests that both lifestyle factors and family psycho-social environment are related to dietary patterns in Australian adolescents.
Breakfast consumption has been associated with better mental health in adulthood, but the relationship between breakfast and mental health in adolescence is less well known. The aims of the present study were to evaluate breakfast quality in a cohort of adolescents and to investigate associations with mental health.
Cross-sectional population-based study. Breakfast quality was assessed by intake of core food groups at breakfast, as determined from 3 d food diaries. Mental health was assessed using the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), with higher scores representing poorer behaviour.
The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, Perth, Western Australia.
Eight hundred and thirty-six males and females aged between 13 and 15 years.
Mean mental health score as assessed by the CBCL was 45·24 (sd 11·29). A high-quality breakfast consisting of at least three food groups was consumed by 11 % of adolescents, while 7 % of adolescents did not consume any items from core food groups on average over the 3 d period. The two most common core food groups consumed at breakfast in this population were dairy products followed by breads and cereals. For every additional food group eaten at breakfast, the associated total mental health score decreased by 1·66 (95 % CI −2·74, −0·59) after adjustment for potential confounding factors, representing an improvement in mental health score.
These findings support the concept that breakfast quality is an important component in the complex interaction between lifestyle factors and mental health in early adolescence.
To test the hypothesis that children with suboptimal fetal growth have significantly poorer mental health outcomes than those with optimal growth, a population random sample survey of children aged 4 to 16 years in Western Australia in 1993 was conducted. The Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach 1991a) and the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach 1991b) were used to define mental health morbidity. Survey data for 1775 children aged 4 to 13 years were available for linkage with original birth information. The percentage of expected birthweight (PEBW) was used as the measure of fetal growth. Children below the 2nd centile of PEBW who had achieved only 57% to 72% of their expected birthweight given their gestation at delivery were at significant risk of a mental health morbidity (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.18, 7.12). In addition, they were more likely to be rated as academically impaired (OR 6.0, 95% CI 2.25, 16.06) and to have poor general health (OR 5.1, 95% CI 1.69, 15.52).
The Western Australian Child Health Survey (WACHS) surveyed 4- to 16-year-olds and their families. In a pilot study of 189 households, one in five children reported mental health prob1ems.A clinical calibration trial confirmed a link between morbidity on the Child Behaviour Checklist and DSM-III-R diagnosis in clinical interview. In the main study of 1462 households, one in six young people showed at least one mental health problem. Adolescent risk behaviours were associated with developmental coping issues and some behavioural problems. Poor parental health and mental health and some school environments were factors related to adverse health outcomes for young people.
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