Eating patterns of children's favorite foods and its related factors among elementary, middle, and high school students in Korea

  • Lee, YuJin (Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Science and Technology, Kookmin University) ;
  • Lee, Seungmin (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Health and Wellness, Sungshin Women's University) ;
  • Lee, KyoungAe (Department of Practical Arts Education, Busan National University of Education) ;
  • Lee, Kyung-Hea (Department of Food and Nutrition, Changwon National University) ;
  • Baik, Inkyung (Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Science and Technology, Kookmin University)
  • Received : 2017.09.28
  • Accepted : 2017.11.15
  • Published : 2017.12.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: There are limited studies investigating the eating patterns of children's favorite foods. The present study aimed to evaluate a wide range of children's favorite foods, derive its eating patterns, and identify factors related to the patterns. SUBJECTS/METHODS: A nationwide cross-sectional study included 5,458 students in elementary, middle, and high schools. The survey was conducted at each school to evaluate children's favorite food intake, including the intake frequency of 31 food items or food groups, and its related factors, such as demographic, economic, and environmental characteristics and awareness of policies on children's favorite foods. Factor analysis using varimax rotation method and logistic regression analysis were conducted. RESULTS: Two factors were derived as major eating patterns from data of children's favorite foods: the 'unhealthy eating pattern' which mainly involves confectionery, chocolate, ramen, fried food, etc.; and the 'healthy eating pattern' which mainly involves soybean milk, vegetables, fruit juice, and nuts. A stepwise selection procedure through the regression analysis revealed that allowance, use of screen media, less awareness of policies on children's favorite foods, and less interest in health were positively related to the tendency of unhealthy or less-healthy eating patterns (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study examined that the eating patterns of children's favorite foods were associated with certain environmental characteristics and awareness about the related policies. These findings suggest that a nutrition education program regarding children's favorite foods needs to be conducted according to the characteristics of students to develop their healthy eating habits and proper choice of favorite foods.




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