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Ghanaian Junior High School Adolescents Dietary Practices and Food Preferences: Implications for Public Health Concern | Abstract
Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences

Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9600

Abstract

Ghanaian Junior High School Adolescents Dietary Practices and Food Preferences: Implications for Public Health Concern

Christiana Naa Atsreh Buxton

Introduction: The dietary practices of adolescents have been described as not the best, mainly as a result of their busy schedules, peer pressure and the independent nature of their behaviour. It is therefore important that adolescents have reliable nutrition information that will guide them to make informed decisions regarding their dietary patterns and practices. But, what are the gaps in their knowledge and practices regarding dietary intakes? The aim of this study was to determine the eating patterns, meals skipping practices, snacking habits and the food preferences of adolescents in selected Junior High Schools in Ghana. Methods: A total number of 820 adolescents were enrolled in this cross-sectional survey. A questionnaire assessing the background characteristics of the respondents, frequency of meals consumption, frequency of snacking between meals, type of snacks usually consumed, and frequency of eating outside the home and food preferences of respondents was administered to all the participants. Results: Majority 515(62.8%) of the respondents indicated that they usually skipped breakfast before going to school. The common reason given by many 178(34.6%) of the breakfast skippers was that parents gave them money to buy food on their way to school, but they used the money to browse at the internet café after school. Nearly half 367(44.8%) of the respondents reported that they usually consumed an average of two cooked meals per day at home. About one-third (33.8%) of the respondents preferred a soft drink for snack during the day. Conclusions: The findings of this study have demonstrated that Junior High School students, who are adolescents, do not have healthy eating patterns and habits – they usually skip breakfast and prefer high sugar and fat content food products as snack among other dietary habits.