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Eur J Public Health. 2005 Jun;15(3):224-32. Epub 2005 May 19.

The relative influence of individual and contextual socio-economic status on consumption of fruit and soft drinks among adolescents in Europe.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Belgium. carine.vereecken@ugent.be

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The number of studies among children and adolescents that focus on socio-economic differences in food habits is limited. Moreover, most are done in only one country and often include a non-representative sample. The present study examines whether socio-economic differences in the consumption of fruit and soft drinks can be found among young adolescents in a wide range of European countries.

METHODS:

Multilevel statistical analysis of 114 558 school-pupils aged 11, 13 and 15 from 28 countries participating in the WHO collaborative cross-national study of Health Behaviours among School-aged Children 2001-2002. The individual outcomes were daily fruit and soft drink consumption and the socio-economic predictors at the individual level were occupation of the head of household and family material wealth. Family material wealth was aggregated at the country level to operationalize country-level socio-economic status.

RESULTS:

In general, girls and younger pupils consumed fruit more often and soft drinks less often. Significant between-school, between-country and between-region differences were found. Fruit consumption increased with family material wealth and higher parental occupational status. Soft drink consumption was lower among pupils of higher parental occupational status in Northern, Southern and Western European countries, but not in Central and Eastern European countries. Only in Central and Eastern European countries was a significant increase in soft drink consumption with increasing family affluence found. The country level of family affluence did not seem to have an effect on either outcome variable.

CONCLUSION:

The findings underscore the importance of socio-economic factors in relation to the food habits of young adolescents.

PMID:
15905182
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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