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Prev Med. 1996 Sep-Oct;25(5):497-505.

Correlates of inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption among adolescents.

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Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.



The present study aims to determine the prevalence of inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption among adolescents and to determine sociodemographic, personal, psychosocial, and behavioral correlates of inadequate consumption.


Data presented in this study were taken from the Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey, a classroom-administered questionnaire, which was completed by 36,284 adolescents in grades 7-12. Chi-square analyses and multivariate logistic regressions controlling for socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age, gender, and BMI were done.


Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables was common among the study population. Less than daily consumption of fruits and vegetables was reported by approximately 40% of adolescents from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Ethnic differences in eating patterns were also apparent in that American Indians were at highest risk for inadequate fruit consumption and African Americans were at greatest risk for inadequate vegetable consumption. Psychosocial correlates of inadequate intake included low family connectedness, weight dissatisfaction, and poor academic achievement. Frequent dieting was associated with inadequate fruit consumption but not with vegetable consumption. Health-compromising behaviors such as binge eating, substance abuse, and past suicide attempts were correlated with inadequate intake.


The results stress the need for intervention programs aimed at increased consumption of fruits and vegetables among adolescents. While programs need to reach all adolescents, approaches need to be suitable to those at highest risk for inadequate consumption, in particular those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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