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Socio-economic disparities in Australian adolescents' eating behaviours

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-12-01, 00:00 authored by P Niven, M Scully, B Morley, David CrawfordDavid Crawford, L A Baur, M Wakefield
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.



Public health nutrition






2753 - 2758


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Cambridge University Press