Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 May 2016
Intra-population socioeconomic changes and migration are powerful factors in changing eating habits. Changes in eating habits could affect the nutritional status, growth, development and health of adolescents. The aim of this study was to compare the diet of adolescents of Moroccan origin living in Spain with that of adolescents living in Morocco. The sample comprised 428 Moroccan adolescents aged from 12 to 19 recruited in high schools: 327 living in Ouarzazate (Morocco) and 101 living in Madrid (Spain). The variables studied were energy intake (kcal/day), diet quality indicators (adherence to the Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI); cholesterol intake (mg/day); fibre intake (g/day) and energy profile)); and indicators of keeping traditional customs (halal meat consumption, bread made at home). Teenagers from Morocco living in Madrid consumed more calories, proteins, saturated fats and simple sugars (p<0.001) than those living in Morocco. Their diet was of lower quality than that of their peers in Morocco. This difference was more marked in boys than in girls. Changes in eating habits associated with migration from the south to the north Mediterranean basin can benefit young migrants in an immediate way (through greater availability of energy and nutrients), but later in life it could have negative consequences for their health, increasing the risk of overweight, obesity and cardiovascular and metabolic problems.