Introduction During the last few decades, Egypt experienced rapid socio-cultural changes that were associated with major changes in the food choices and eating habits, which, progressively, becomes more westernized. The objective of this study was to investigate the meal patterns of secondary school adolescent students in Mansoura, Egypt. Methods This is a cross-sectional study conducted on 891 adolescent students. Thirty clusters were selected to cover both general and vocational public schools of both sexes in urban and rural areas. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data about sociodemographic features of the students and their families, as well as meal habits of students. Results About 46% of students eat three meals per day. About 72%, 93% and 95% of respondents consume breakfast, lunch and dinner on daily bases, respectively. Snacks were eaten daily by 34.1% of students. Eating always with the family was stated by the majority (62.5%) of students and taking home made sandwiches during school time was mentioned by 35.8% of students. On logistic regression socioeconomic status is the only predictor associated with daily intake of breakfast, lunch and dinner; with high likelihood of eating with the family and intake of school meal. Conclusion Students practice many faulty meal patterns. School-, family- and community-based interventions are timely needed to promote healthy eating habit in adolescents.
Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 13:22