oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Food intake and meal pattern of adolescents in school in Ila Orangun, south-west Nigeria : original research
Objective : This study was designed to assess the food intake and describe the meal pattern of adolescents attending public secondary schools in Ila Orangun, south-west Nigeria.
Design : This was a cross-sectional descriptive study that used a pretested, interviewer-administered, semi-structured questionnaire to collect information on sociodemographic data. A food frequency questionnaire and 24-hour dietary recall was used to collect information on food intake and meal patterns.
Setting : The setting was Ila Orangun town, located in Osun State in south-west Nigeria.
Subjects : The sample (n = 302) comprised adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years, attending public schools.
Outcome measures : Socio-demographic characteristics, meal patterns, food intake and frequency of consumption were assessed. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis, and chi-square to test for any association between the variables.
Results : The daily energy intake was higher than that recommended in 66% of the adolescents, carbohydrate intake higher in 62%, and fat and protein intake lower in 51% and 42%, of the adolescents, respectively. Low iron intake was significantly higher in females than in males (p-value < 0.05). One third (38%) skipped breakfast, and while the majority consumed supper, most participants ate snacks instead of lunch. A large proportion consumed fruit and vegetables, as well as milk and milk products, infrequently. The proportion of females who missed breakfast was significantly higher than that of the males (p-value < 0.05).
Conclusion : A high daily energy intake was reported in the adolescents. There was inadequate consumption of calcium and iron. A flawed meal pattern was observed, characterised by skipping breakfast and replacing lunch with snacks. Consuming breakfast, improving fruit and vegetable intake, and eating animal sources of protein should be encouraged in adolescents, and especially in females. This could assist in preventing the development of diseases associated with an inadequate intake of nutritious food.
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