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J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Feb;110(2):230-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.10.034.

Whole-grain intake correlates among adolescents and young adults: findings from Project EAT.

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Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.



National survey data indicate few adolescents or young adults consume whole grains in the amount recommended to prevent chronic disease and maintain a healthful weight. Interventions are needed to address this gap; however, little is known about what modifiable factors influence whole-grain intake among youth.


This study aimed to identify socioenvironmental, personal, and behavioral correlates of whole-grain intake among adolescents and young adults.


Data for this cross-sectional analysis were drawn from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens)-II, the second wave of a population-based study in Minnesota. Mailed surveys and food frequency questionnaires were completed by male (44.8%) and female (55.2%) participants in 2003-2004, including 792 adolescents (mean age=17.2 years) and 1,686 young adults (mean age=20.5 years). Linear regression models adjusted for demographic characteristics were used to identify factors associated with energy-adjusted daily intake of whole grains.


Mean daily intake of whole grains was lower than recommended among adolescents (males: 0.59+/-0.04 servings, females: 0.61+/-0.04 servings) and young adults (males: 0.68+/-0.03 servings, females: 0.58+/-0.03 servings). Home availability of whole-grain bread, self-efficacy to consume > or =3 daily servings of whole grains, and preference for the taste of whole-grain bread were positively associated with whole-grain intake during adolescence and young adulthood across sex. Conversely, fast-food intake was associated with lower intake of whole grains among adolescents and young adults of both sexes. The factors examined in this study explained 28% to 34% of variance in whole-grain intake across sex and the two age groups.


The findings suggest nutrition interventions should address the availability of whole-grain foods in homes and restaurants. In addition, young people should be provided with opportunities to taste a variety of whole-grain foods to enhance taste preferences and self-efficacy to consume whole-grain products.

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