Snack consumption patterns among adolescent Nigerian urban secondary school girls (pp. 311-317)
Authors: Alphonsus N Onyriuka, Eruke E Egbagde, and Eucharia PA Onyiriuka
Abstract: The worldwide dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in childhood and adolescence has led to a greater public health concerns relating to the dietary and snacking behaviours among the paediatric age group. Objective: To describe the pattern of snack consumption among adolescent Nigerian urban secondary schoolgirls. Methods: In this school-based-cross-sectional study, we assessed the snack consumption pattern of 2,304 adolescent girls (aged 12-19 years) in two urban public girls’ only secondary schools selected by balloting. Data was obtained using an anonymous-structured-self-administered questionnaire. All the students were invited to participate. Results: Among the 2,304 participants, 1693(73.5%) admitted consuming snacks in the last two weeks preceding the survey. The contexts in which adolescent girls most frequently snacked were after school but before dinner (74.8%) and during their leisure time while watching television or hanging out with friends (78.3%). The majority (76.4%) of the adolescent girls consumed energy-dense snacks such as meat pie and egg buns along with soft drinks with only 9.4% of them consuming fruits 4-6 days in a week. Taste was the leading factor (88.2%) influencing the choice of type of snack. Among the 1,693 adolescent girls who snacked, 31.6% did so after dinner. Conclusion: The unhealthy snacking behaviours exhibited by adolescent schoolgirls in the present study included low consumption of fruits, consumption of energy-dense snacks along with soft drinks, snacking during leisure time as well as after dinner. Health education for promotion of healthy snacking behaviours should be given more attention in Nigerian school health programmes.