Dietary Habits and Nutritional Status of Adolescents

Irena Colić Barić1*, Romana Kajfež1 and Selma Cvijetić2

Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Nutrition, Pierottijeva 6, HR-10001 Zagreb, Croatia

2Institute of Medical Research and Occupational Health, Centre of Osteoporosis, Kišpatićeva 12, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Article history:

Received March 3, 2000
Accepted May 17, 2000

Key words:

nutrition, nutrition habits, nutritional status, adolescent


A person selects foods for a variety of reasons. Whatever those reasons may be, food choice influences human health. The most vulnerable populations are teenagers and adolescents who make many food choices for themselves. The aim of the study was to assess the quality of adolescents daily diet and some nutritional habits (number of meals, frequency of consuming foods) using Food Frequency Questionnaire designed for this purpose as well as additional questions on habits (smoking and alcohol consumption). The sample included 233 adolescents aged from 15 to 17 years. Few different tables, as well as one containing chemical contents of local dishes, were used to determine the quantity of energy, proteins, total fats, carbohydrates, fatty acids, cholesterol and alcohol intake. Body mass index (BMI), centiles of weight vs. height, and body fat composition, were taken into consideration. The differences between sexes were analysed using statistical F-test and a correlation between the anthropometric and dietetic data (correlation coefficients) were calculated. With respect to the average daily food intake, the results showed that adolescents consume higher levels of total and saturated fats and cholesterol, and lower levels of carbohydrates. They were also deficient in their consumption of vegetables and fruits, while an excessive amount of sweets and soft bevarages was also consumed. According to BMI 82 % of adolescents were nourished well, while body fat was higher in comparison to referent values. The differences between the sexes were found with regard to the mean quantity of food intakes (meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, vegetables, fruits), energy distribution, consumed alcohol, smoking habit, body fat, as well as in the number of over- and undernourished adolescents. Nutrition education and continuous studing of adolescent daily diet should be continued in order to improve the nutritional habits of adolescents. 


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