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Eur J Public Health. 2010 Jun;20(3):299-305. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp137. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Adolescents' health-related dietary patterns by parental socio-economic position, the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT).

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Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.



Nutrition is among the important determinants of diseases, and the social patterning of early eating habits may offer keys to prevention. We studied associations between selected indicators of adolescents' health-related dietary habits (daily intake of candy, soft drinks, fruit and vegetables) and parental socio-economic position (education, social class and income).


The material consisted of participants in the adolescent part (Young-HUNT) of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study during the period 1995-97, 8817 girls and boys aged 13-19 years (89% of all students in junior high schools and high schools in a Norwegian county). Data on parental socio-economic position was available from the adult part of HUNT and Statistics Norway. Cross-sectional data analyses were performed using cross-tables and binary logistic regression.


Of the indicators of socio-economic position used, the parent's educational level, in particular the mother's education, showed the highest impact on adolescents' health-related dietary habits. Girls with the least educated mothers had a prevalence odds ratio of 2.5 (1.8-3.3) for drinking soft drinks daily and 0.6 (0.5-0.8) for eating vegetables daily as compared to girls with the most educated mothers. The corresponding numbers for boys were 1.9 (1.5-2.4) and 0.6 (0.5-0.8). Parental social class also showed gradients in adolescents' health-related dietary habits, but there was virtually no gradient by income.


Higher levels of parental education, in particular the mother's education, are clearly associated with healthier dietary habits among adolescents. This social patterning should be recognized in public health interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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