Changing trends in young people’s food behaviour and wellbeing in England in relation to family affluence between 2005 and 2014

The results show young people in the low Family Affluence Scale group generally reporting less healthy eating behaviours, and differences by gender such as more soft/sugary drink consumption and lower consumption of fruit and vegetables for boys

Antonia Simon; Charlie Owen; Rebecca O’Connell; Fiona Brooks

2017

Scholarcy highlights

  • Long-standing social inequalities in health and nutrition exist in the UK
  • Using repeat cross sectional data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, this paper adds to what is known by analysing the association between family affluence and self-reported consumption of breakfast, fruit, vegetables and soft drinks by young people aged 11-15 years in England in 2005, 2009 and 2014
  • We seek to extend and complement the analysis by Currie et al described above by examining in detail trends for England using the HBSC data for 2005, 2009, and 2014, addressing the research question: ‘What is the relationship between family affluence and self-reported consumption of breakfast, fruit, vegetables and soft drinks by young people aged 11-15 years in England and how does this change over time?’ We examine the relationship between self-reported food behaviours, gender and wellbeing
  • Overall for young people aged 11-15 years the proportion eating breakfast and vegetables 5-6 times per week or more has remained stable over time
  • The analysis finds a small rise over time in the proportion of young people aged 11-15 years consuming breakfast, vegetables and fruit five to six times per week and a reduction in the proportion drinking soft drinks every day
  • A greater proportion of girls than boys reported having self-rated good or very good academic achievement at each time point, and the gap between the two groups increases over time
  • The results show marked inequalities by Family Affluence Scale, with young people in the low FAS group generally reporting less healthy eating behaviours than the medium/high FAS group, and differences by gender, for example, more soft/sugary drink consumption and lower consumption of fruit and vegetables for the boys
  • As noted above, the meaning of Family Affluence Scale over time may have changed due to differential change on the items of the scale

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