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CONFERENCE PAPER
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 293-297

Food Consumption Pattern and Body Mass Index of Adolescents − A Descriptive Study


Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Nagar, Kattankulathur, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission21-May-2021
Date of Decision10-Jun-2021
Date of Acceptance29-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication26-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
E. Lakshmi
Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, SRMIST, SRM Nagar, Kattankulathur-603203, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijnpnd.ijnpnd_39_21

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   Abstract 


Context: Adolescence is a period of growth spurt. During this crucial period, food intake patterns are set in place and these patterns can have vital impact on lifetime nutritional status and health of the individuals. Aim: The present study aimed to assess food consumption pattern of adolescent girls and to associate the same with the body mass index (BMI). Materials and methods: A quantitative research approach and a descriptive design were adopted for the study. Nonprobability purposive sampling technique was used to select 217 adolescents (girls) in the age group of 13 to 18 years after obtaining informed consent. Researcher-designed questionnaire was developed to collect the data on demographic profile. A food frequency questionnaire was used to elicit information regarding food consumption pattern (general and fast food) for over four months during the period of study from December 2018 to February 2019. The height and weight were measured using inch tape and weighing scale. The BMI was calculated and compared with BMI classification of World Health Organization. Statistical analysis: Descriptive statistical measures such as percentage distribution, mean, and standard deviations were used for variables. Chi-squared test of significance was used to predict the association between BMI and food intake. Results: The percent adequacy of food intake presented a deficit in the intake of green leafy vegetables (−31.05%), fruits (‒46.34%), milk and milk products (−21.44%). BMI revealed that a higher percentage (45.16%) of adolescent girls were under weight. Conclusion: There was no significant association (χ2 = 0.46, P = 0.99) between BMI and food intake.

Keywords: Body mass index, food consumption, food frequency questionnaire, 24 hours food recall


How to cite this article:
Lakshmi E. Food Consumption Pattern and Body Mass Index of Adolescents − A Descriptive Study. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2021;11:293-7

How to cite this URL:
Lakshmi E. Food Consumption Pattern and Body Mass Index of Adolescents − A Descriptive Study. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 3];11:293-7. Available from: https://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2021/11/4/293/329201



Key Messages

Health is the prerequisite of all especially the adolescent, the growing future. Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill-health. Without dedicated action on nutrition, all forms of malnutrition are likely to increase in this age group.


   Introduction Top


Adolescence is a period of growth spurt. During this crucial period, food intake patterns are set in place and these patterns can have vital impact on lifetime nutritional status and health. The food consumption pattern of adolescents has changed drastically.[1] Teenagers make many choices for themselves. This is a period when the independent character of an individual is established. With after school activities and social lives, teens are not always able to sit down for three meals a day. Busy schedules may lead to meal skipping, snacking throughout the day and more eating away from home.[2] Many teens skip breakfast. Evidence suggests that breakfast contributes to wellbeing in a number of areas. It is the central component of nutritional wellbeing, contributing to total daily energy and nutrient intake.[3] Fast foods appeal to the adolescents because they are an important feature of their lifestyle and they fit their limiting spending money. Adolescents tend to consume a lot of soft drinks which have a negative effect on intakes of magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin C.[3] By understanding adolescent eating habits one can well evaluate the nutritional adequacy of adolescent’s diet and can ensure they are meeting the minimum requirements to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Dapi et al.[4] stated that there was higher frequency of junk food consumption among urban than rural adolescents. Rao et al.[5] concluded that the average intake of cereals and millets among tribal adolescents was lower than in rural adolescents. Hence, the present study focused on food consumption pattern of adolescents.

This quantitative research study was conducted from December 2018 to February 2019 as a research work on exploring the food consumption pattern of adolescent girls in school at Chennai to explain the health risks threatening the participants.


   Subjects and Methods Top


The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of SRM MCH vide approval number (1165/IEC/2017). Informed consent was obtained from study participants. Permission was obtained from school authority.

Quantitative research approach and descriptive design were adopted for the study. Nonprobability purposive sampling technique was adopted to select 217 adolescents (girls) in the age group of 13 to 18 years. They were subjected to a detailed history, including sociodemographic evaluation and physical examination to assess the baseline clinical status.

Height and weight were measured by using standard measuring scale following the methods of Jelliffe.[6] The body mass index (BMI) of the subjects was calculated and categorized according to International Obesity Task Force method proposed by Cole et al.,[7] as given in [Table 1].
Table 1 Classification based on body mass index (BMI)

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Height, weight, and BMI of the respondents were compared with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) standards.[8]

Diet survey

A list of most frequently consumed food items was prepared by interviewing the adolescents (not the subjects), parents, and teachers. Food frequency questionnaire was developed to elicit information regarding food consumption pattern (general and fast food) over recent months from December 2018 to February 2019. The frequencies in the questionnaire were scored from 0 to 15 (food frequency scores), as given in [Table 2]. Thereafter, total scores were calculated for each food item to estimate average intake. BMI classification, standard cups, spoons (food weighment), weighing scale, and inch tape (BMI) were used.
Table 2 Food frequency scores

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Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistical measures such as percentage distribution, mean, and standard deviation were used for variables. Chi-squared test was used for BMI (13–15 years) and food intake.


   Results Top


The socioeconomic status as depicted in revealed that majority (90.79%) of the adolescents were nonvegetarian. About 76.96% of adolescents were from nuclear family. Further, it was observed that 24.88% of fathers were high school educated and about 23.98% had technical qualification. Family educational level and socioeconomic status have a marked effect on children’s lifestyles and dietary habits.[9] The data on family income reported that the majority belonged to families earning up to Rs 15,700 per month. The data further highlighted that 26.73% had monthly food expenditure nearing Rs 1600, as shown in [Table 3].
Table 3 Distribution of adolescents according to demographic profile (N = 217)

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This brings out to the conclusion that food expenditure merely depends on family income. BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. Additionally, BMI is an inexpensive and easy to perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems. For children and teens, BMI is age and sex specific and is often referred to as BMI for age.

The mean height of the selected adolescent girls and its comparison with ICMR (2010) standards are presented in [Table 4]. In the 13 plus category, there was deficit in mean height (142.3 ± 4.6) for age and weight (38.47 ± 3.4) for age. The mean BMI (16.58 ± 0.11) was also lesser. Findings of Sachan et al. (2012)[10] also revealed that the mean height and weight of urban as well as rural school children were below the expected measures for age [Table 4].
Table 4 Mean height weight and body mass index (BMI) for age of adolescent girls

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The classification of the subjects [Table 5] according to BMI indicated that 45.16% of the adolescent girls were underweight, 40.55% had normal BMI, and 14.28% were in the preobese category.
Table 5 Distribution of adolescents according to body mass index (BMI) classification

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The use of dietary pattern analysis has become popular for characterizing the whole diet in combination as this approach captures complex behavior and potentially interactive and antagonistic effects among nutrients that might impact health outcomes. The data [Table 6] highlighted that 95.85% of adolescents consumed cereals daily. The above results were in confirmation with the study by Chacko and Begum[11] that cereal and cereal products were consumed frequently by a considerably large segment of selected adolescent subjects from middle income families. Data regarding frequency of consumption of whole pulses revealed more or less equal percent consumption of pulses such as rajmah, Bengal gram, and black gram dhal daily (51.61%) and weekly (48.39%). The results in general revealed that frequency of consumption of vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, roots, and tubers was 94.47% on daily basis [Table 6].
Table 6 Food consumption frequencies of adolescents (N = 217)

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Abudayya et al.[12] when assessing the food consumption pattern of adolescents also observed that the mean frequency of consumption of green vegetables was 8.5 per week, that is, adolescents consumed two or three servings per day. Milk is the product that is considered as a complete food. The study [Figure 1] highlighted that 40.55% took milk only weekly basis. About 51.61% consumed nonvegetarian. Items such as fish and mutton were consumed weekly only.
Figure 1 Mean food consumption scores.

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Fast food, chat, and Chinese food consumption

It was observed that 54.37% took chat items such as panipuri and bhelpuri on weekly basis. This snack was observed to be sold by street vendors at a reasonable cost. Chinese foods such as noodles and maggie were consumed to an extent of 26.27% daily. Paeratakul et al.[13] assessed the food consumption pattern and dietary intake profiles of adolescents (14–18 years) and observed that fast food is especially popular among adolescents, who on an average visit a fast-food outlet twice per week.

It was observed from [Table 7] that the Chi-squared statistic was 0.46. The P-value was 0.99. The result was not significant at P < 0.05. Hence, there was no association between BMI and food consumption.
Table 7 Association of body mass index (BMI) and food consumption

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   Discussion Top


The study revealed that family educational level and socioeconomic status have a marked effect on children’s lifestyles and dietary habits. Ignorance about good foods and habits were found to be the reason behind underweight. UNICEF (2006) proposed that general under-nutrition, characterized by under-weight among children was more prevalent among rural children and among children with illiterate mothers.[14] There was deficit in mean height for age and weight for age. Similar studies by Pai and Naik[15] revealed that all children were significantly below the ICMR standard both in height and weight. The frequency of consumption of milk products, fruits, and vegetables was below the standards of ICMR recommendation. The foods available in low-income neighborhoods are of lower quality, cost more, and have less variety, than foods available in more affluent neighborhoods, because larger suppliers tend to target higher income consumers.[16] Finally, there was no association in BMI and food consumption pattern of adolescents.


   Conclusion Top


The findings of the study revealed that the eating habits of adolescents are not healthy. Adolescents in India are trained to eat less and their dietary requirements are less prioritized, Hence, most of them are underweight with low BMI. The market trends have changed in recent years and the market is pushing junk foods. More and more adolescents are consuming unhealthy foods. Very few consume protein-rich foods such as chicken, meat, fish, or eggs on a daily basis, and about a third of them consume these foods weekly. The survey revealed that there was no association between BMI and food consumption pattern of adolescents. The study also suggests research directions for nutritional intervention to improve health status of adolescents who are an important section of the population.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Adolphus K, Lawtn CL, Dye L. The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents. Front Hum Neurosci 2013;7:1-28.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Agrahar MD, Pal PP. Food consumption pattern of tribals of Meghalaya and its relation with socio-economic factors. Ind J Nutr Dietet 2004;42:71-80.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Nicklas TA, Bao W, Webber LS, Berenson GS. Breakfast consumption affects adequacy of total daily intake in children. J Am Diet Assoc 1993;93:886-91.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Dapi LN, Nouedoui C, Janlert U, Haglin L. Adolescent’s food habits and nutritional status in urban and rural areas in Cameroon Africa. Scand J Nutr 2005;49:151-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Rao KM, Balakrishna N, Laxmaiah A, Venkaiah K, Brahmam GNV. Diet and nutritional status of adolescent tribal population in nine states of India. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006;15:64-71.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Jelliffe DB. The Assessment of the Nutritional Status of the Community. Monograph Series. Geneva: WHO; 1966. p. 53.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide. Br Med J 2000;320:1240.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Indian Council of Medical Research. Nutrient Requirements and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Indians. Hyderabad, India; National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Fernández PM. Dietary habits and nutritional status of school aged children in Spain. Nutr Hosp 2006;21:374-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Sachan B, Idris MZ, Jain S, Kumari R, Singh A. Nutritional status of school going adolescent girls in Lucknow District. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2012;1:101-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
  [Full text]  
11.
Chacko M, Begum K. Eating behaviour and nutrient intake among adolescent girls from middle income families. Ind J Nutr Dietet2007;44:367-73.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Abudayya AH, Stigum H, Abed Y, Ottesen H. Socio demographic correlates of food habits among school adolescents in North Gaza Strip. BMC Public Health 2009;9:1186-206.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Paeratakul S, Ferdinand DP, Champagne CM, Ryan DN, Bray GA. Fast-food consumption among US adults and children: dietary and nutrient intake profile. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:1332-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Nnakwe N, Onyemaobi G. Prevalence of food insecurity and inadequate dietary pattern among households with and without children in Imo state Nigeria. Int J Sociol Anthropol 2013;5:402-8.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Pai MS, Naik RK. Nutritional status of selected rural school children of Dharwad district, Karnataka. Ind J Nutr Dietet 1989;26:108-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Chitra U, Reddy CR. The role of breakfast on nutrient intake of urban school children. Public Health Nutr 2008;10:55-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]



 

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