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Estimates of food intake and dietary habits in a random sample of adolescents in south-east Spain

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Dietary habits and food intake of the six basic food groups (milk, meats, cereals, fruits, vegetables and fats) were investigated in a random sample of 206 adolescents (aged 10–15 years) from a region of south-east Spain (Murcia). Adolescents were interviewed on their recall of food intake over the previous 24 h. The results showed a very low consumption of vegetables, some deficiencies in the intake of the milk and fruits, and an excessive intake of fats. Intake of foods belonging to the cereal and meat groups was adequate, agreeing with the recommendations for the adolescent population. Within the meat group, the distribution of foods consumed was not satisfactory; an excessive consumption of meats and sausages was observed, while the intake of fish and pulses was insufficient. In our study, nutritional advice was given to mothers and adolescents. The use of Spanish portions from the six basic food groups proved to be a very helpful method to popularize the principles of balanced diet in our population. Our results seem to indicate some nutritional imbalances in the diets of the adolescents in the study, especially deficits in fibre and calcium and an excess in saturated fats. The study reveals that although Murcia is a typically Mediterranean Region, the characteristics of the diet of Murcian adolescents are quite different in some respects from the typical alimentary habits of the Mediterranean diet.
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Keywords: adolescents; dietary habits; food intake

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Publication date: 01 January 1996

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