Stress and dietary practices in adolescents

Health Psychol. 2003 Jul;22(4):362-9. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.22.4.362.


Baseline data from the Health and Behavior in Teenagers Study (HABITS) were used to investigate associations between stress and dietary practices in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of 4,320 schoolchildren (mean age = 11.83 years). Male (n = 2,578) and female (n = 1,742) pupils completed questionnaire measures of stress and 4 aspects of dietary practice (fatty food intake, fruit and vegetable intake, snacking, and breakfast consumption) and also provided demographic and anthropometric data. Multivariate analyses revealed that greater stress was associated with more fatty food intake, less fruit and vegetable intake, more snacking, and a reduced likelihood of daily breakfast consumption. These effects were independent of individual (gender, weight) and social (socioeconomic status, ethnicity) factors. Stress may contribute to long-term disease risk by steering the diet in a more unhealthy direction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires