Paediatric obesity is a severe public health problem accompanied by several physical and mental complications, mainly due to an imbalance between energy input and output. Dietary behaviours are influenced by many demographic factors and determinants, such as the place of residence and the level of dietary knowledge of the children and their parents. The aim of the current paper is to assess the levels of dietary knowledge, dietary adherence (in relation to recommendations), and the body mass index (BMI) of Lebanese adolescents in association with demographic variables, their parents’ dietary knowledge and adherence levels, and with other lifestyle behaviours. This cross-sectional study included 1535 Lebanese adolescents aged 15 to 18 years, from 16 public and private high schools located in urban and rural regions, and 317 of their parents. Our results showed that 30.2% of the adolescents were overweight or obese. Participants enrolled in private schools and those living in urban regions had a significantly higher BMI z
-score compared to those enrolled in public schools and living in rural regions, respectively. In addition, Lebanese adolescents generally had low levels of dietary knowledge and 32.4% had low levels of dietary adherence. Their dietary adherence was significantly associated with their parents’ dietary adherence. The findings underline the significant role of the parents in shaping their children’s eating behaviours, in addition to the other determinants and factors affecting the diet of Lebanese adolescents. As the prevalence of paediatric overweight and obesity has reached alarming rates, the results of the current study have important implications for both public health policies and obesity prevention interventions in the Middle East and worldwide.
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