Fast Food Consumption Alongside Socioeconomic Status, Stress, Exercise, and Sleep Duration Are Associated With Menstrual Irregularities in Korean Adolescents: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2013

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2018;27(5):1146-1154. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.032018.03.


Background and objectives: Menstrual irregularities in adolescents are a concern because they are considered a subjective indicator of poor physical and reproductive health. Menstrual regularity is associated with many genetic and mental health factors, and lifestyle changes can markedly influence an individual's level of menstrual regularity. Therefore, we investigated associations between lifestyle factors and menstrual irregularities in Korean adolescents by analysing data collected from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2013.

Methods and study design: A total of 463 female adolescents aged 15-18 years participated in this study; they were divided into two groups based on their menstrual regularity. We assessed the between-group differences in relation to lifestyle-related factors, fast food consumption, and diet quality.

Results: The frequencies of consumption of soda, coffee, and fried foods were significantly higher in the irregular menstruation group. However, the nutritional quality index was not significantly different between the two groups. Logistic regression analysis revealed that younger age at menarche (odds ratio [OR]=0.69, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.54-0.88), higher family income (OR=0.37, 95% CI=0.15-0.91), lack of exercise (OR=10.42, 95% CI=2.73-39.8), and high stress levels (OR=4.18, 95% CI=1.02-17.12) were associated with menstrual irregularity, whereas sufficient sleep (OR=0.49, 95% CI=0.39-0.60) and low frequency of eating out accounted for menstrual regularity.

Conclusions: Lifestyle factors and stress levels influence menstrual regularity in Korean adolescents. Appropriate and accessible education on lifestyle management is required.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Fast Foods / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstruation Disturbances / epidemiology*
  • Nutrition Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep*
  • Social Class
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors