Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences
Poster Board Number: 218
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.
University of Hawaii