Dietary fat knowledge and intake of mid-adolescents attending public schools in the Bellville/Durbanville area of the city of Cape Town
Objectives: This survey primarily investigated the dietary fat knowledge and intake of 17-year-olds.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive survey.
Setting and subjects: A random sample of 168 learners (89% response rate) attending public schools in the Bellville/Durbanville area participated with parental consent after the area manager of the Department of Education and the school headmasters granted approval to conduct the survey.
Outcome measures: Both the test and the food frequency screener selected to assess learner dietary fat knowledge and intake respectively
was pilot tested.
Results: The learners mostly obtained average (46%) as well as below average (52%) dietary fat knowledge scores and mostly (61%) followed diets that were categorised as typically Western, quite high in fat. The learners’ interest in nutrition and their source of nutritional information, which was a subject presented at school, were positively associated with their dietary fat knowledge (p < 0.05) and intake (p < 0.05) and their dietary fat knowledge was positively associated with their fat intake (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: These mid-adolescents lack knowledge of dietary fat and are not consuming fats sparingly. However, their interest in nutrition, reliable nutritional information and dietary fat knowledge positively affected their fat intake. Interest in nutrition through nutrition and health education intervention initiatives should be cultivated among adolescents as it was identified as positively affecting both the dietary fat knowledge and intake of these adolescents.
Keywords: knowledge of dietary fat; dietary fat intake; adolescent nutrition; interest in nutrition; nutrition information
Material submitted for publication in the South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition (SAJCN) is accepted provided it has not been published elsewhere. Copyright forms will be sent with acknowledgement of receipt and the SAJCN reserves copyright of the material published.
The SAJCN does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.