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Prev Med. 2001 Sep;33(3):217-26.

Stability in consumption of fruit, vegetables, and sugary foods in a cohort from age 14 to age 21.

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Institute for Nutrition Research, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway.



Eating behavior is an etiologic factor in the development of lifestyle-related diseases. Knowledge about the stability of eating behavior during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood has implication for dietary interventions for children and young adolescents.


Dietary data were collected by means of a short food frequency questionnaire as part of a Norwegian longitudinal cohort study on health behavior, lifestyle, and self-reported health of adolescents. Of 885 14-year-old baseline participants, 521 21-year-olds participated and 40% completed all surveys at each time point.


Mean weekly frequency of consumption of fruit and vegetables decreased by 1-2.5 times per week between ages 14 and 21, whereas that of sugar-containing soft drinks increased by almost 1 time per week between ages 15 and 16. Tracking of consumption patterns into young adulthood was seen for all four foods (P < 0.05 for differences in means between the tracking groups). The proportions of individuals remaining in the same tracking categories at the major transition stages were 50-70%. Yet, some changed in the opposite direction of the observed trends.


Despite the overall changes in mean weekly frequency of consumption and prevalence of daily consumers, relative ranking by frequency at age 14 indicated some stability of eating behavior into young adulthood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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