oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Does dietary knowledge influence the eating behaviour of adolescents? : editorial

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



In order to develop a true understanding of adolescents' eating behaviour and food choices it is necessary to briefly consider such behaviour from an ecological perspective. Four levels of influence impact on the nutritional health of teens. Firstly, individual or intrapersonal factors such as the psycho-social and biological factors immediately drive behaviour. Secondly, the social environment (or interpersonal factors) in which the adolescent lives, in terms of peers and family members, plays a strong role. Thirdly, one needs to place the adolescent in the perspective of his / her community and environment in terms of influences impacting on nutrition-related behaviour. Outside influences such as availability and access to fast food outlets, school tuckshops, food stores and vendors in the vicinity may play a role in his / her decision making. Lastly the macroenvironment needs to be understood in terms of the society in which the adolescent finds himself / herself. The latter influences include effects of mass media and advertising.

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