Personal eating, lifestyle, and family-related behaviors correlate with fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescents living in sicily, southern Italy.Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2013; 83(6):355-66IJ
Lifestyle habits and parental modeling have been reported to influence adolescents’ food choices, such as for fruit and vegetable consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate the association be-tween personal eating (i. e. breakfast and snacking behavior), lifestyle (sedentary and physical activity), and family-related (i. e. consuming meals with parents, family rules, and television use) habits and fruit and vegetable consumption among adolescents living in Sicily, southern Italy. A cross-sectional survey was conducted across 14 schools in urban and rural areas, including 1,135 adolescents (12 - 14 years old). Validated instruments were used to assess possible relationships between the study variables and daily fruit and vegetable consumption. Higher parental education, occupation, and rural environment were positively associated with adolescents’ daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Both types of food consumption were negatively associated with an increased frequency of between-meal and out-of-home eating, and positively with having meals with parents and higher parental influence in adolescents’ food choices. Television viewing habits were not related with adolescents’ vegetable consumption, whereas having a television in their room and commercial advertisings were negatively associated with daily intake of fruits. Although socioeconomic and cultural status may influence fruit and vegetable consumption, personal eating and family-related behaviors may be targeted for implementing recommendations.