Open Access Research

Eating patterns of Turkish adolescents: a cross-sectional survey

Mehmet Akman1*, Hülya Akan2, Güldal İzbirak2, Özlem Tanrıöver2, Sırma Mine Tilev3, Anıl Yıldız3, Simge Tektaş3, Ayça Vitrinel4 and Osman Hayran5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Marmara University School of Medicine, Tophanelioğlu Caddesi No:13/15 34662 Altunizade/Istanbul, Turkey

2 Department of Family Medicine, Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine, İnönü Mahallesi, Kayışdağı Cad., 26 Ağustos Yerleşimi, 34755 Kadıköy - İstanbul, Turkey

3 Medical Faculty 3rd yrs students, Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine, İnönü Mahallesi, Kayışdağı Cad., 26 Ağustos Yerleşimi, 34755 Kadıköy - İstanbul, Turkey

4 Department of Pediatric Health and Diseases, Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine, İnönü Mahallesi, Kayışdağı Cad., 26 Ağustos Yerleşimi, 34755 Kadıköy - İstanbul, Turkey

5 Faculty of Health Sciences, Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine, İnönü Mahallesi, Kayışdağı Cad., 26 Ağustos Yerleşimi, 34755 Kadıköy - İstanbul, Turkey

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Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:67  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-67

Published: 19 December 2010

Abstract

Background

Adolescence is a crucial period for development of dietary behaviors that continue into adulthood and influence the risk of chronic diseases later in life. The aim of this study was to determine the eating patterns of adolescents' and their compliance with the Food Guide Pyramid.

Methods

625 students, aged between 11-15 years, from an elementary school in Istanbul, Turkey were enrolled in this cross-sectional survey. A questionnaire of eating patterns (QEP) was administered to all participants. QEP is consisted of questions assessing the knowledge and behaviors on healthy eating, factors affecting food choice, physical activity status and demographical variables. Height and weight of all participants were measured. Physical activity status was determined by questioning about participation in regular sport activities, how much time spent watching TV, playing computer games or doing homework.

Results

The mean age of the participants was 12.15 ± 1.15 and 50.5% were female. According to body mass index (BMI) percentiles, 8.3% (52) were obese and 10.2% were overweight. 51% had breakfast every day and only 1.9% met all the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid. Among the participants, 31% have fast food at least once every day and 60.8% skip meals. When participants were asked to rate the factors effecting their food choice according to a 10 point Likert scale, the highest mean scores (high impact on food choice) were for the factors; family, health, body perception, teachers and friends; 7.5 ± 3.1, 7.4 ± 3.1, 6.1 ± 3.2, 4.8 ± 3.3 and 4.2 ± 3.0 respectively. Total mean time spent on all passive activities (TV, computer, reading homework etc) per day was 9.8 ± 4.7 hours.

Conclusions

In this study we have demonstrated that, adolescents do not have healthy eating patterns. Educational interventions should be planned to decrease the health risks attributable to their eating behaviors.