Adolescent home food environments and socioeconomic position
MacFarlane, Abbie, Crawford, David, Ball, Kylie, Savige, Gayle and Worsley, Anthony 2007, Adolescent home food environments and socioeconomic position, Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 748-755.
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Many adolescents have diets that are less than optimal, particularly adolescents of low socioeconomic position (SEP). The determinants of SEP differences in adolescent dietary intake are poorly understood. This study examined the home food environments of adolescents and specifically investigated whether low SEP adolescents have less supportive home local environments, fewer eating rules and poorer home availability of fruit and vegetables than adolescents of high SEP. A cross-sectional, self-reported survey was administered to 3,264 adolescents in years 7 and 9, from 37 secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. Adolescent perceptions of the home meal environment, eating rules and home food availability were described and compared across SEP, which was measured using maternal education. Maternal education was linked to various aspects of the home meal environment, as well as home food availability, but not to eating rules. Low SEP adolescents were more likely to report that they were always allowed to watch television during meal times, and that unhealthy foods were always or usually available at home. In contrast, high SEP adolescents were more likely to report that vegetables were always served at dinner, that the evening meal was never an unpleasant time and always or usually a time for family connectedness, and that fruit was always or usually available at home. This study highlights aspects of the home food environment that might explain SEP variation in adolescent diets. Feasible ways of increasing home availability of healthy foods, and encouraging home meal environments to be supportive of healthy eating should be explored, particularly in households of low SEP adolescents.
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