High School Students' Sugar Intake Behaviors and Consumption of Sugary Processed Food Based on the Level of Sugar-related Nutrition Knowledge in Seoul Area

  • Joo, Nami (Department of Food & Nutrition, Sookmyung Women's University) ;
  • Kim, Shin-Kyum (Graduate School of Education, Sookmyung Women's University) ;
  • Yoon, Ji-young (Department of Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management, Sookmyung Women's University)
  • Received : 2016.12.22
  • Accepted : 2017.02.15
  • Published : 2017.02.28


Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate high school students' sugar intake behaviors, the status of consuming sugary processed foods, the awareness of sugar, and the experience and interest in sugar-related education based on the level of sugar-related nutrition knowledge. Methods: In this study, five high schools were selected in Seoul, Korea, and a survey was conducted in 400 students on the level of sugar-related nutrition knowledge and sugar intake status. A total of 349 questionnaires were used for the final analysis. For statistical analysis, descriptive statistics was performed; a t-test, ${\chi}^2$ test, and Friedman test were used for comparative analysis. Results: The study results showed a positive association between the knowledge level of sugar and the appropriate sugar intake behavior and sugary food choices. The group with more nutrition knowledge on sugar was found to have good eating habits and to eat less sugary food. The main sources of sugar were beverages, confectionary, and bakery goods in the corresponding order, irrespective of the level of nutrition knowledge related to sugar. A significant difference was found in the groups' awareness of the sugar content of the drinks with 89.4% for the higher-knowledge group, and only 81.5% for the lower-knowledge group (p < 0.05). Results also showed that 43.9% of the higher-knowledge group and 36.4% of the lower knowledge group were interested in participating in education on sugar. Conclusions: This study result indicated the need to help adolescents to avoid excessive sugar intake from only certain favorite foods. Therefore, it is necessary to seek a systematic foundation for participatory education in order for them to maintain a low sugar intake in daily life and lead healthy eating habits by increasing their level of sugar-related information and knowledge.


  1. Kim EM, Ahn JA, Jang JK, Lee MA, Seo SH, Lee EJ. Consumer perception and attitudes towards reducing sugar intake. J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr 2015; 44(12): 1865-1872.
  2. Lee YH. Recognition and education needs of sugar intake reduction among preschool children mothers [master's thesis]. Sookmyung Women's University; 2015.
  3. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Sugar Holic? [Internet]. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety; 2015 [cited 2016 Dec 15]. Available from:
  4. Bae YJ, Yeon JY. Evaluation of nutrient intake and diet quality according to beverage consumption status of elementary school, middle school, and high school students: from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2007-2008. J Nutr Health 2013; 46(1): 34-49.
  5. Park YS. Intake of snack by the elementary school children in Hansan-do area 1. Korean J Food Cook Sci 2003; 19(1): 96-106.
  6. Seo HC. The relationship between sugar intake and emotional function of adolescent. J Brain Educ 2013; 11(1): 75-97.
  7. Chung HK, Park SS. The effect of sugar intake on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder of school children. J Nutr Health 1995; 28(7): 644-652.
  8. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. How much sugar is consumed? [Internet]. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety; 2013 [cited 2016 Dec 15]. Available from:
  9. Won HR. A study of the college students' nutritional knowledge and eating attitude by comparing those of Korean oriental medicine major students and those of food and nutrition major students. Korean J Community Living Sci 2003; 14(3): 47-51.
  10. Yoon HS, Choi YS. Analysis of correlation among health consciousness and nutrition knowledge, dietary habits and nutrition attitudes of elementary and middle school teachers in Masan city. J Nutr Health 2002; 35(3): 368-379.
  11. Youn HS, Choi YY, Lee KH. Evaluation of nutrition knowledge, dietary attitudes and nutrient intakes of nurses working in Kyungnam area. J Nutr Health 2003; 36(3): 306-318.
  12. Schwartz NE. Nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices of high school graduates. J Am Diet Assoc 1975; 66(1): 28-31.
  13. Chung SJ, Kim HY. Nutrition knowledge and food habits of housewives. Fam Environ Res 1985; 23(4): 101-108.
  14. Carruth BR, Mangel M, Anderson HL. Assessing change proneness and nutrition related behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc 1977; 70(1): 47-53.
  15. Lee SW, Sung CJ, Kim AJ, Kim MH. A study on nutritional attitude, food behavior and nutritional status according to nutrition knowledge of Korean middle school students. Korean J Community Nutr 2000; 5(3): 419-431.
  16. Kim HJ. A survey on sugar intakes from snacks and sweet food culture of adolescents in Korea [master's thesis]. Kongju National University; 2008.
  17. Seo JY. A study on adolescents' between meals consumption: Based on middle school students in Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do [master's thesis]. Ewha Womans University; 2008.
  18. Yoo JH. Frequency of sweetened food consumption from elementary school students and assessment [master's thesis]. Sookmyung Women's University; 2010.
  19. Han HM, Lee SS. A nutrition education program development and the application for the elementary students: Focused on sugar intake education. J Korean Pract Art Educ 2008; 21(2): 111-131.
  20. Yoo SJ, Jung LH. A study on food involvement and dietary behavior of middle school students in Naju area. J Korean Home Econ Educ Assoc 2008; 20(1): 63-83.
  21. Sun Z, Cho WK. A study on hypertension relevant nutritional knowledge and dietary practices in Chinese college students studying in South Korea. J Nutr Health 2015; 48(5): 441-450.
  22. Yoo HJ, Song KH. A study on the nutritional knowledge, attitudes, and dietary patterns of housewives in Seoul. Fam Environ Res 1990; 28(2): 47-55.
  23. Yang IS, Kim HY, Lee HY, Kang YH. Effectiveness of webbased nutritional education program for junior and senior high school students. J Nutr Health 2004; 37(7): 576-584.
  24. Kim YS, Lee MJ. Effects of nutrition education through social cognitive theory in elementary school students: Focusing on the nutrition education of sugar intake. Korean J Food Nutr 2011; 24(2): 246-257.
  25. Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM. Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc 2010; 110(10): 1477-1484.
  26. Wang YC, Bleich SN, Gortmaker SL. Increasing caloric contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices among US children and adolescents, 1988-2004. Pediatr 2008; 121(6): e1604-e1614.
  27. Frary CD, Johnson RK, Wang MQ. Children and adolescents' choices of foods and beverages high in added sugars are associated with intakes of key nutrients and food groups. J Adolesc Health 2004; 34(1): 56-63.
  28. Lytle L, Seifert S, Greenstein J, McGovern P. How do children's eating patterns and food choices change over time? Results from a cohort study. Am J Health Promot 2000; 14(4): 222-228.
  29. Cavadini C, Siega-Riz AM, Popkin BM. US adolescent food intake trends from 1965 to 1996. Arch Dis Child 2000; 83(1): 18-24.
  30. Malik VS. Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: A systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr 2006; 84(2): 274-288.
  31. Sohn W, Burt BA, Sowers MR. Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition. J Dent Res 2006; 85(3): 262-266.
  32. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Despres JP, Willet WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2010; 33(11): 2477-2483.
  33. Lien L, Lien N, Heyerdahl S, Thoresen M, Bjertness E. Consumption of soft drinks and hyperactivity, mental distress, and conduct problems among adolescents in Oslo, Norway. Am J Public Health 2006; 96(10): 1815-1820.
  34. Shi Z, Taylor AW, Wittert G, Goldney R, Gill TK. Soft drink consumption and mental health problems among adults in Australia. Public Health Nutr 2010; 13(7): 1073-1079.
  35. Pollak CP, Bright D. Caffeine consumption and weekly sleep patterns in US seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders. Pediatr 2003; 111(1): 42-46.
  36. Giannakopoulos G, Panagiotakos D, Mihas C, Tountas Y. Adolescent smoking and health-related behaviours: Interrelations in a Greek school-based sample. Child Care Health Dev 2009; 35(2): 164-170.
  37. Park SH, Sherry B, Foti K, Blanck HM. Self-reported academic grades and other correlates of sugar-sweetened soda intake among US adolescents. J Acad Nutr Diet 2012; 112(1): 125-131.
  38. Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Rudd Report: Sugar sweetened beverage taxed 2012 [Internet]. Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; 2012 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: Sugar_Sweetened_Beverage_Taxes(1).pdf.
  39. Foo LL, Vijaya K, Sloan RA, Ling A. Obesity prevention and management: Singapore's experience. Obes rev 2013; 14(S2): 106-113.
  40. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. 1st Sugar decrease total plan briefing report [Internet]. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety; 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 10]. Available from: http://www.mfds.go. kr/
  41. Katou Y, Mori T, Ikawa Y. Effect of age and gender on attitudes towards sweet foods among Japanese. Food Qual Preference 2005; 16(2): 171-179.
  42. Do SY, Kang SH, Kim HT, Yoon MH, Choi JB. Investigation on the consumption of caffeinated beverages by high school students in Gyeonggi-do. J Food Hyg Saf 2014; 29(2): 105-116.
  43. Park YK, Lee EM, Kim CS, Eum JH, Byun JA, Sun NK et al. Survey on the content and intake pattern of sugar from elementary and middle school foodservices in Daejeon and Chuncheong province. J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr 2010; 39(10): 1545-1554.