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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1994 Oct;48(10):736-48.

Socio-demographic correlates of dietary habits in mid to late adolescence.

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MRC Medical Sociology Unit, 6 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow, UK.



To examine socio-demographic correlates of dietary habits at 15 and 18 years.


First and second sweeps of a longitudinal survey, based on a two-stage stratified clustered random sample.


Central Clydeside Conurbation, in the West of Scotland.


A random sample of 1682 households containing 15-year-olds was approached by Strathclyde Regional Council, 70% of whom agreed to have their names passed on to the MRC. 1009 (86%) of this target sample were interviewed at baseline. 908 (90%) were re-interviewed at age 18. Analyses are restricted to respondents who took part in both data collection sweeps.


Questions on meal patterns and food choices were included in the interviews: self-complete questionnaires included a dietary inventory. Social class was measured by reference to the head of household at baseline: information on own labour market position and place of residence was obtained at 18.


At 18 there was clear differentiation in food choices and meal patterns according to sex and both parental social class and own current labour market position. Controlling for class, dietary habits at 15 were independently related to future labour market position. Overall changes in eating habits between 15 and 18 were slight, though females were more likely to have increased consumption of foods consistent with current recommendations, while the un/non-employed reduced their consumption of a midday meal.


Dietary habits are established in mid-teens and closely associated with lifestyle, facts which need to be taken into consideration in designing effective nutrition education programmes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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