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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;54 Suppl 1:S16-20.

Food habits and sport activity during adolescence: differences between athletic and non-athletic teenagers in Switzerland.

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  • 1NestlĂ© Research Center, NestlĂ© Ltd, Lausanne, Switzerland.



To describe food habits and dietary intakes of athletic and non-athletic adolescents in Switzerland.


College, high schools and professional centers in the Swiss canton of Vaud.


A total of 3,540 subjects aged 9-19 y answered a self-reported anonymous questionnaire to assess lifestyles, physical plus sports activity and food habits. Within this sample, a subgroup of 246 subjects aged 11-15 also participated in an in-depth ancillary study including a 3 day dietary record completed by an interview with a dietician.


More boys than girls reported engaging in regular sports activities (P<0.001). Adolescent food habits are quite traditional: up to 15 y, most of the respondents have a breakfast and eat at least two hot meals a day, the percentages decreasing thereafter. Snacking is widespread among adolescents (60-80% in the morning, 80-90% in the afternoon). Food habits among athletic adolescents are healthier and also are perceived as such in a higher proportion. Among athletic adolescents, consumption frequency is higher for dairy products and ready to eat (RTE) cereals, for fruit, fruit juices and salad (P<0.05 at least). Thus the athletic adolescent's food brings more micronutrients than the diet of their non-athletic counterparts. Within the subgroup (ancillary study), mean energy intake corresponds to requirements for age/gender group.


Athletic adolescents display healthier food habits than non-athletic adolescents: this result supports the idea that healthy behavior tends to cluster and suggests that prevention programs among this age group should target simultaneously both sports activity and food habits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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