Dietary change and perceptions of change over time

Amelia Lake, A. J. Adamson, R. M. Hyland, J. C. Mathers

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Dietary patterns and change in eating habits are influenced by the interrelationship between an individual's internal and external environment. This longitudinal dietary survey study produced evidence of dietary change and investigated perceptions of, and attributions for, dietary change from adolescence to adulthood, using sociodemographic data and questionnaire responses. Dietary data were obtained in 1980 and 2000 from the same respondents (mean age 11.6 and 32.5 years, respectively). Two 3-day food diaries were collected from 198 participants in 1980 and 2000. Foods consumed were assigned to one of the five food categories from the Balance of Good Health (BGH) and expressed as percentage contribution to total food weight. A questionnaire was completed in 2000 which explored how subjects perceived their own dietary change and the factors to which they attributed such change. Respondents were split into three groups in respect of their perceptions of the relative healthiness of the diet now (2000) compared with what it was in 1980. Those who perceived that their diet in 2000 was healthier than their diet in 1980 ('Healthier') had increased their fruit and vegetables more and decreased their foods containing fat and/or sugar more than those who perceived that their diet in 2000 was 'Less healthy'. The cross-referencing of questionnaire answers with measured dietary change illustrates an association between perception of change and degree of change in intake of three BGH food groups: fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and alternatives, and foods containing fat and/or sugar. These findings help to explain the complex process of dietary change from adolescence to adulthood.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)199-203
    Number of pages5
    JournalNutrition Bulletin
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2004


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