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Socio-economic disparities in Australian adolescents’ eating behaviours

  • Philippa Niven (a1), Maree Scully (a1), Belinda Morley (a1), David Crawford (a2), Louise A Baur (a3) and Melanie Wakefield (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

To assess the association between socio-economic position (SEP) and poor eating behaviours in a large representative sample of Australian secondary-school students.

Design

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.

Setting

Secondary schools across all Australian states and territories.

Subjects

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email Belinda.Morley@cancervic.org.au

Footnotes

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The NaSSDA Study Team comprises Cancer Council Victoria: Belinda Morley, Maree Scully, Melanie Wakefield; Technical Advisory Group: Louise Baur (Chair), Anthony Okely, Iain S. Pratt, Jane Bowen, Jo Salmon, Victoria Flood, David Crawford, Anthony Worsley.

Footnotes

References

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Keywords

Socio-economic disparities in Australian adolescents’ eating behaviours

  • Philippa Niven (a1), Maree Scully (a1), Belinda Morley (a1), David Crawford (a2), Louise A Baur (a3) and Melanie Wakefield (a1)...

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