Whole-grain intake correlates among adolescents and young adults: findings from Project EAT.J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Feb; 110(2):230-7.JA
National survey data indicate few adolescents or young adults consume whole grains in the amount recommended to prevent chronic disease and maintain a healthful weight. Interventions are needed to address this gap; however, little is known about what modifiable factors influence whole-grain intake among youth.
This study aimed to identify socioenvironmental, personal, and behavioral correlates of whole-grain intake among adolescents and young adults.
Data for this cross-sectional analysis were drawn from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens)-II, the second wave of a population-based study in Minnesota. Mailed surveys and food frequency questionnaires were completed by male (44.8%) and female (55.2%) participants in 2003-2004, including 792 adolescents (mean age=17.2 years) and 1,686 young adults (mean age=20.5 years). Linear regression models adjusted for demographic characteristics were used to identify factors associated with energy-adjusted daily intake of whole grains.
Mean daily intake of whole grains was lower than recommended among adolescents (males: 0.59+/-0.04 servings, females: 0.61+/-0.04 servings) and young adults (males: 0.68+/-0.03 servings, females: 0.58+/-0.03 servings). Home availability of whole-grain bread, self-efficacy to consume > or =3 daily servings of whole grains, and preference for the taste of whole-grain bread were positively associated with whole-grain intake during adolescence and young adulthood across sex. Conversely, fast-food intake was associated with lower intake of whole grains among adolescents and young adults of both sexes. The factors examined in this study explained 28% to 34% of variance in whole-grain intake across sex and the two age groups.
The findings suggest nutrition interventions should address the availability of whole-grain foods in homes and restaurants. In addition, young people should be provided with opportunities to taste a variety of whole-grain foods to enhance taste preferences and self-efficacy to consume whole-grain products.