Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 218

P18-050 - Characterizing Eating Behaviors of Adolescents Ages 10-13 in Hawaii While Eating Alone

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objectives: Adolescents in Hawaii fall short of meeting dietary recommendations. As youth gain independence, food choices made when not in the presence of others may make a big impact on overall diet quality, development of obesity, and health. However, there is no published evidence characterizing eating behavior of adolescents in Hawaii when food is consumed alone. The purposes of this study were: 1) To determine how often adolescents eat alone 2) To characterize occasions when adolescents eat alone, including the location, time of day, and, other activities performed while eating.

Methods: Early adolescents ages 10-13 years (n=36) in Oahu, Hawaii were asked to take pictures of everything they consumed throughout the day. One to three days after adolescents took the pictures, a researcher conducted one-on-one interviews with adolescents using the photos as a guide. Upon completion of data collection, descriptive statistics were calculated using frequencies and percentages to understand the characteristics of occasions when adolescents ate alone.

Results: Sixty-one percent of participants were female. Eighteen percent of meals and 27% of snacks were consumed when adolescents were alone. Occasions when adolescents ate meals alone occurred more for breakfast and lunch, and less for dinner. Occasions when adolescents ate snacks alone gradually increased over time within the day and peaked between 5: 00 pm to 7:00 pm, and decreased immediately after that. With regards to food consumed alone, 91.3% of meals and 72.0% of snacks were eaten at home, followed by school (meal: 4.3%, snack: 20.0%). While eating meals or snacks alone, about half of adolescents watched television or used electronic devices, whereas about half of adolescents ate without performing any other activities.

Conclusions: Occasions when 10-13-year-old adolescents ate alone were not frequent, but most often occurred at home. Examining other characteristics of eating habits, including type of food selected, may foster further understanding of eating habits for development of effective interventions to promote healthy eating behavior in adolescents to address the problem of childhood obesity in Hawaii.

Funding Source: USDA NIFA AES Multistate Research Project W3003

CoAuthors: Alex Anderson – University of Georgia; So Yung Choi – University of Hawaii; Mary Cluskey – Oregon State University; Carolyn Gunther – Ohio State University; Nobuko Hongu – University of Arizona; Blake Jones – Purdue University; Karina Lora – University of Oklahom; Scottie Misner – University of Arizona; Lillie Monroe-Lord – District of Columbia Cooperative Extension; Christine Penicka – Brigham and Women's Hospital; Marla Reicks – University of Minnesota; Rickelle Richards – Brigham Young University; Glade Topham – Kansas State University; Siew Sun Wong – Oregon State University; Jinan Banna – University of Hawaii

Asuka Suzuki

Doctoral Student
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii