Proportion, Patterns, and Determinants of Junk Food Consumption among Adolescent Students

Vandana Hiregoudar, C M Suresh, Chetana Singode, Bellara Raghavendra



 Background: Junk foods seem to have engulfed every age and the newest entrants are adolescents. This is a time of rapid growth; good nutrition is a high priority. Junk food consumption has both direct and indirect relationship in the chain of natural history of most of the non-communicable diseases thereby giving us a window of opportunity to break these weak links to arrest the disease processes. Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken in schools and colleges of urban field practice area of medical college. Stratified random sampling technique was adapted to select schools/colleges. From selected school/college, all students from one section of 7th–12th class were enrolled for the study after taking consent. Data were collected using pretested and validated, close- and open-ended, and self-administered questionnaire. Results: A total of 700 adolescent students were included in the study. About 60.14% adolescents consumed junk food more than 3 times/week. Cakes (males-32.5% and females-26.2%) and chocolates (males-27.4% and females-38.4%); and Chips (males-17.9% and females-18.8%) and street foods (males-17.5% and females-23.9%) were the most preferred sweet and salted junk food respectively. Influence of friends (odds ratio [OR]: 5.49; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.79–8.03), family members (OR: 1.58; 95% CI: 1.12–2.23), advertisements (OR: 2.66; 95% CI: 1.87–3.81), and easy accessibility (OR: 17.35; CI: 11.2–27.3) had a statistically significant association with consumption of junk foods. Conclusions: To conclude nearly two-third adolescent students consumed junk food on regular basis. Factors such as friends, family members, and easy accessibility nearer to schools or colleges were associated with junk food consumption. Even having adequate knowledge did not prevent them from having junk foods.

Key words: Adolescent students, Junk foods, patterns, prevalence

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