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Association between fruits and vegetables intake and frequency of breakfast and snacks consumption: a cross-sectional study

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      Abstract

      Background

      There are very few studies on the frequency of breakfast and snack consumption and its relation to fruit and vegetable intake. This study aims to fill that gap by exploring the relation between irregular breakfast habits and snack consumption and fruit and vegetable intake in Tuscan adolescents. Separate analyses were conducted with an emphasis on the potentially modifying factors of sex and age.

      Methods

      Data was obtained from the 2010 Tuscan sample of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The HBSC study is a cross-sectional survey of 11-, 13- and 15-year-old students (n = 3291), selected from a random sample of schools. Multivariate logistic regression was used for analyzing the food-frequency questionnaire.

      Results

      A significant relation was found between low fruit and vegetable intake and irregular breakfast habits. Similarly, low fruit intake was associated with irregular snack consumption, whereas vegetable intake did not prove to be directly related to irregular snack consumption. Different patterns emerged when gender and age were considered as modifying factors in the analyses. A statistically significant relation emerged only among female students for irregular breakfast habits and fruit and vegetable intake. Generally, older female participants with irregular breakfast habits demonstrated a higher risk of low fruit and vegetable intake. Age pattern varied between genders, and between fruit and vegetable consumption.

      Conclusions

      Results suggest that for those adolescents who have an irregular consumption of breakfast and snacks, fruit intake occurs with a lower frequency. Lower vegetable consumption was associated with irregular breakfast consumption. Gender and age were shown to be moderators and this indicated the importance of analyzing fruit and vegetable intake and meal types separately.

      This study also confirmed that health-promotion campaigns that aim to promote regular meal consumption and consumption of fruits and vegetables need to take into account gender and age differences in designing promotional strategies. Future research should identify evidence-based interventions to facilitate the achievement of the Italian guidelines for a healthy diet for fruit, vegetables and meals intake.

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      Most cited references 47

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      Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey.

      To develop an internationally acceptable definition of child overweight and obesity, specifying the measurement, the reference population, and the age and sex specific cut off points. International survey of six large nationally representative cross sectional growth studies. Brazil, Great Britain, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United States. 97 876 males and 94 851 females from birth to 25 years of age. Body mass index (weight/height(2)). For each of the surveys, centile curves were drawn that at age 18 years passed through the widely used cut off points of 25 and 30 kg/m(2) for adult overweight and obesity. The resulting curves were averaged to provide age and sex specific cut off points from 2-18 years. The proposed cut off points, which are less arbitrary and more internationally based than current alternatives, should help to provide internationally comparable prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in children.
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        Researching health inequalities in adolescents: the development of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) family affluence scale.

        Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health have been little studied until recently, partly due to the lack of appropriate and agreed upon measures for this age group. The difficulties of measuring adolescent socioeconomic status (SES) are both conceptual and methodological. Conceptually, it is unclear whether parental SES should be used as a proxy, and if so, which aspect of SES is most relevant. Methodologically, parental SES information is difficult to obtain from adolescents resulting in high levels of missing data. These issues led to the development of a new measure, the Family Affluence Scale (FAS), in the context of an international study on adolescent health, the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study. The paper reviews the evolution of the measure over the past 10 years and its utility in examining and explaining health related inequalities at national and cross-national levels in over 30 countries in Europe and North America. We present an overview of HBSC papers published to date that examine FAS-related socioeconomic inequalities in health and health behaviour, using data from the HBSC study. Findings suggest consistent inequalities in self-reported health, psychosomatic symptoms, physical activity and aspects of eating habits at both the individual and country level. FAS has recently been adopted, and in some cases adapted, by other research and policy related studies and this work is also reviewed. Finally, ongoing FAS validation work is described together with ideas for future development of the measure.
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          Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases

          Background Vegetables and fruit provide a significant part of human nutrition, as they are important sources of nutrients, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals. However, it is uncertain whether the risk of certain chronic diseases can be reduced by increased consumption of vegetables or fruit by the general public, and what strength of evidence has to be allocated to such an association. Methods Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of the studies available in the literature and the respective study results has been performed and evaluated regarding obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, osteoporosis, eye diseases, and dementia. For judgement, the strength of evidence for a risk association, the level of evidence, and the number of studies were considered, the quality of the studies and their estimated relevance based on study design and size. Results For hypertension, CHD, and stroke, there is convincing evidence that increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruit reduces the risk of disease. There is probable evidence that the risk of cancer in general is inversely associated with the consumption of vegetables and fruit. In addition, there is possible evidence that an increased consumption of vegetables and fruit may prevent body weight gain. As overweight is the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus, an increased consumption of vegetables and fruit therefore might indirectly reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Independent of overweight, there is probable evidence that there is no influence of increased consumption on the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. There is possible evidence that increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruit lowers the risk of certain eye diseases, dementia and the risk of osteoporosis. Likewise, current data on asthma, COPD, and RA indicate that an increase in vegetable and fruit consumption may contribute to the prevention of these diseases. For IBD, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, there was insufficient evidence regarding an association with the consumption of vegetables and fruit. Conclusions This critical review on the associations between the intake of vegetables and fruit and the risk of several chronic diseases shows that a high daily intake of these foods promotes health. Therefore, from a scientific point of view, national campaigns to increase vegetable and fruit consumption are justified. The promotion of vegetable and fruit consumption by nutrition and health policies is a preferable strategy to decrease the burden of several chronic diseases in Western societies.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Molecular Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Via A. Moro 2, Siena 53100, Italy
            [2 ]CREPS – Centre of Research for Health Education and Promotion, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
            [3 ]Local Public Health Unit 7, Siena 53100, Italy
            [4 ]Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
            Contributors
            Journal
            Nutr J
            Nutr J
            Nutrition Journal
            BioMed Central
            1475-2891
            2013
            27 August 2013
            : 12
            : 123
            23981379
            3765730
            1475-2891-12-123
            10.1186/1475-2891-12-123
            Copyright ©2013 Lazzeri et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research

            Nutrition & Dietetics

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