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Snacking behavior in adolescence: the influence of peer group members and school availability of snacks and soft drinks

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Snacking behavior in adolescence: the influence of peer group members and school availability of snacks and soft drinks

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Objective: Frequent high caloric intake (snacking) induces overweight. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of social and physical environmental factors on the snacking behavior of adolescents.
Design: cross-sectional population based study
Method: Snacking behavior of individuals and their peer-group members (cliques) was assessed in 749 adolescents (398 girls, 351 boys, mean age 14.9, range 12.4 - 17.6 years). Snack and soft drink availability at school were observed. In hierarchical stepwise regression analysis, clique consumption, snack and soft drink availability at school, and person characteristics (age, gender, education level, and body mass index), were examined as determinants of snacking behavior. Individual consumption was also predicted from clique consumption combined with school availability and person characteristics.
Results: Snack and soft drink consumption was higher in boys than in girls, soft drink consumption was higher in adolescents with lower education, and snack consumption was lower in adolescents with a lower body weight. Clique snack and soft drink consumption were associated with individual snack and soft drink intake, particularly in case of more availability of snacks and soft drinks, and in boys, adolescents with a lower education level and adolescents with lower body weights.
Conclusion: More snacking in adolescents is associated with more snacking in the peer group they belong to, especially in schools with high availability of snacks and soft drinks, in boys, and in lower educated or normal weight adolescents. These findings offer opportunities for influencing individual behavior by preventive programs e.g., by peer education in targeted groups. Future research is suggested for evaluating the potential effect of such programs.

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OrganisatieFontys Hogescholen
LectoraatLectoraat Health innovations and technology
Jaar2009
TypeConferentiebijdrage
TaalOnbekend

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