- Volume 27 Issue 1
This study sought to analyze the need for nutritional education to enhance the selection of desirable foods by adolescents. A total of 480 high school students in Incheon were surveyed and their responses were analyzed for the recognition of nutrition labeling and their consumption of processed foods and snacks. Almost all the students (93.1%) recognized nutrition labeling, but 54.6% rarely checked the nutrition labeling. The nutrients recognized as important in the nutrition label of processed foods were total fat/saturated fat/trans fat (3.75 out of 5), calories (3.68), and sodium (3.67) in that order. The recognition of the importance of calories was significantly higher in female students compared to male students (3.78 vs. 3.58, P<0.05). The information identified as important were the date of manufacture and expiration (4.21 out of 5), price (4.14), and the nutrition label (3.15). The preference for processed foods was highest in the order of beverages (4.03 out of 5), noodles (4.02), and frozen desserts (3.97), and the preference of females for processed foods was significantly higher than males (P<0.001). The time when snacks were most frequently consumed were before going to the academy (21.0%), after school (19.4%), and after attending private institutes (15.0%). The main reasons for using processed foods as snacks were taste (44.4%), 'no time to eat a meal' (26.4%), and low price (17.7%). In conclusion, while students mostly recognized nutrition labeling, the actual usage rate was low, and snacks were selected and consumed instead of meals for reasons such as attending academic institutes after school. Thus, to encourage the choice of proper processed foods and snacks for adolescents, practical nutrition education using nutrition labeling is needed.