Objective: This study sought to explore home food availability and common settings of food consumption as correlates of fruit, vegetable, and fat intake among a sample of non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white adolescents.
Participants and design: Adolescents (n=144 black, 84 white) and their parents completed a cross-sectional survey in an urban adolescent health clinic. The adolescent survey included screening measures for fruit, vegetable, and fat intake and items on frequency of eating meals with family, while watching television, and at three types of restaurants. Parents provided information on home availability of foods.
Main outcomes: Correlates of fruit, vegetable, and fat consumption.
Statistical analysis: Spearman correlations for associations among variables, t tests for mean comparisons, and multiple stepwise regression conducted separately for black and white adolescents.
Results: In multiple regression, home availability was not significantly associated with fruit, vegetable, or fat intake except for fruit intake among white adolescents only. Use of non-fast-food restaurants was the strongest positive predictor of vegetable intake. For both black and white adolescents, fast-food and buffet restaurant use and eating while watching television were the strongest predictors of fat intake.
Conclusions: Compared with restaurant use and eating while watching television, home availability had a relatively small impact on fruit, vegetable, and fat consumption for both black and white adolescents. Intervention programs on adolescent nutrition should target not just availability of healthful foods, but also ease of access, such as the preparation of fruits and vegetables so that they are flavorful and ready to eat.