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Food Consumption in Adolescents and Young Adults: Age-Specific Socio-Economic and Cultural Disparities (Belgian Food Consumption Survey 2014)

Research Center in “Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Trials”, School of Public Health, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 1070 Brussels, Belgium
Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and Surveillance, Unit “Lifestyle and chronic diseases”, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1520;
Received: 7 June 2019 / Revised: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 July 2019 / Published: 4 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving Adolescent Dietary Behaviour)
PDF [261 KB, uploaded 4 July 2019]


A key issue in nutritional public health policies is to take into account social disparities behind health inequalities. The transition from adolescence toward adulthood is a critical period regarding changes in health behaviors. This study aimed to determine how consumption of four emblematic food groups (two to favor and two to limit) differed according to socio-economic and cultural characteristics of adolescents and young adults living in Belgium. Two non-consecutive 24-h dietary recalls were carried out in a nationally representative sample of 10–39 year old subjects (n = 1505) included in the Belgian food consumption survey 2014. Weighted daily mean consumption of “fruits and vegetables”, “whole grain bread and cereals”, “refined starchy food”, and “sugary sweetened beverages” (SSB) was calculated and explored in multivariable linear regressions stratified into four age groups. After adjustment, 10–13 year old adolescents living in less educated households daily consumed lower amounts of “fruits and vegetables” (adjusted mean: 165.6 g/day (95% CI: 125.3–206.0)) and “whole grain bread and cereals” (40.4 g/day (22.9–58.0)), and higher amounts of SSB (309.7 g/day (131.3–488.1) than adolescents of same ages living in more educated households (220.2 g/day (179.8–260.7); 59.0 g/day (40.3–77.8); and 157.8 g/day (1.7–314.0), respectively). The same trends were observed in older groups, along with strong consumption disparities according to region of residency, country of birth, and occupation, with specificities according to age. Our findings suggest the need to better explore such disparities by stage of transition to adulthood, and to adapt nutritional health programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: diet; food; nutrition survey; socio-economic factors; adolescent; young adult diet; food; nutrition survey; socio-economic factors; adolescent; young adult
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Desbouys, L.; De Ridder, K.; Rouche, M.; Castetbon, K. Food Consumption in Adolescents and Young Adults: Age-Specific Socio-Economic and Cultural Disparities (Belgian Food Consumption Survey 2014). Nutrients 2019, 11, 1520.

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