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Consumption of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat among high school students in Zanjan Province, Iran

Author(s): K Amini | SY Mojtahedi | M Mousaiefard

Journal: Journal of School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research
ISSN 1735-7586

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: High school students | Adolescents | Nutrition | Food habits | Zanjan Province

Background and Aim: Adolescence is the transition period between childhood and adulthood, a period in life that begins at puberty. It is one of the fastest growth periods in a person's life. During this time, physical changes affect the body's nutritional needs, while changes in one's lifestyle may affect eating habits and food choices. Nutritional health during adolescence is important for supporting the growing body and for preventing future health problems. In Iran, the prevalence of anemia, obesity, and other chronic nutritional diseases has increased in recent years due to undesirable eating habits. This survey was conducted to determine consumption of the four major food groups (vegetables, fruits, milk products, and meat) among a group of high school students in Zanjan Province, Iran."nMethods and Materials: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was carried out on 1500 students, selected by random cluster sampling, in Zanjan high schools, Iran in 2005. The daily intakes of the 4 food groups during the previous week were determined using a food frequency questionnaire. The potential determinants of the pattern of food consumption were also determined."nResults: The proportions of the students not having consumed fruits, vegetables, and meat during the weak were 16%, 6.8%, and 10%, respectively. More than 95% of the students said that they had consumed milk/milk products at least once a day. Only 8.7% consumed fruits and 27% consumed vegetables 3 times or more daily."nConclusion: The consumption of the 4 food groups of large proportions of Zanjan Province adolescents is below the current recommendations. Health and nutrition educational programs would be a valuable tool to correct erroneous food habits of the adolescents leading to improvements in their nutritional status.

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