Meal pattern and soft drink consumption among in-school adolescents in Benin-city, Edo State, Nigeria
Meal pattern and soft drink consumption among in-school adolescents in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Healthy meal pattern is very important in the maintenance of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being of an individual, more so during the adolescence period which is characterized by dramatic physical, psychological and cognitive development. This study aimed to determine the pattern of meal consumption among in-school adolescents in Benin-City, Nigeria. This descriptive, cross sectional study was carried out between January - June 2013 among in-school adolescents in Benin- City,Edo State,Nigeria.Theparticipants were selected using amulti-stage sampling method.The tool for data collection was a pre-tested, structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire.Data was analyzed using IBMSPSS20.0 and significant level was set at p less than 0.05. A total of 797 in-school adolescents with mean age of 15.4 ± 3.6 years participated in the study. The highest proportion of them were 14-15 years (66.9%) and males (51.8%). Majority of the respondents (71.6%) ate three times a day. Dinner was the meal eaten most often by the highest proportion of them (95.5%), followed by lunch (90.2%) and breakfast (85.9%). Eighty eight percent of them skipped meals and this was significantly higher among the females (90.7%) than the males (86.0%), p = 0.041 and those in the mid-adolescent (14-15 years) age group (92.3%), p < 0.001. The reasons given for skipping meals included staying for after-school activities (45.1%), time constraint in the morning (43.4%), not being hungry (25.2%) and waking up late (11.5%). Six hundred and ninety-three (87.0%) of them were involved in snacking and this pattern was significantly higher among the male adolescents (p = 0.037), those in the highest social economic class (p = 0.003) and among those in the senior class (p < 0.001). Eighty-seven percent of the respondents had consumed soft drinks on a daily basis in the past one week preceding the survey. Conclusion: The study revealed that meal skipping, snacking and soft drink consumption were common among this adolescent population. Public enlightenment campaign and school food policies that promote healthy eating habits are recommended.