Changes in food habits amongst Norwegian adolescents in 2016 and 2019 according to gender and socioeconomic status

  • Tonje H. Stea Department of Health and Nursing Science, University of Agder, Kristiansand; and Department of Child and Adolescence Mental Health, Sørlandet Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway
  • Kristin Holvik Department of Chronic Diseases and Ageing, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  • Caroline S. Bryntesen Department of Health and Nursing Science, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
  • Jannicke B. Myhre Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Keywords: Dietary habits, adolescents, socio-demographic factors, time trends, repeated cross-sectional studies, questionnaires


Background: Monitoring dietary habits is important in order to identify risk groups and as a basis for targeted public health initiatives.

Objective: To study trends in consumption of selected foods and beverages from 2016 to 2019 amongst Norwegian adolescents according to gender and parental education.

Design: Repeated cross-sectional study amongst 25,996 adolescents, aged 14–17 years old. Consumption of selected food and beverages was measured by an online food frequency questionnaire and general linear models were applied to estimate changes in dietary habits.

Results: Between 2016 and 2019, we observed a reduced frequency of consumption of vegetables (from 4.7 to 4.4 times/week), fruit and berries (from 4.4 to 4.2 times/week), whole-grain bread (from 5.1 to 4.2 times/week), and fish (from 2.3 to 1.6 times/week). During this time period, we also observed a reduced frequency of consumption of salty snacks (from 2.1 to 1.9 times/week), sweets (from 2.3 to 2.0 times/week), sugar-sweetened beverages (from 2.8 to 2.6 times/week), and artificially sweetened beverages (from 2.2 to 1.5 times/week). In girls, there was a decrease in the reported frequency of consumption of fruit and berries (−4%, vs. no change in boys). The decrease in consumption frequency of whole-grain bread was larger in girls than in boys (−19% vs. −14%). Further, a 17% decrease in consumption of sweets was observed amongst adolescents with no or only one parent having college/university education compared to a 13% decrease in adolescents whose both parents had college/university education.

Conclusion: Our results showed a decrease in frequency of consumption of selected healthy and unhealthy food and beverages amongst adolescents between 2016 and 2019. The gender gap in consumption of fruit and berries and whole-grain bread seemed to decrease during this time period, and the socio-economic gap in consumption of sweets seemed to disappear.


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How to Cite
Stea T. H., Holvik K., Bryntesen C. S., & Myhre J. B. (2021). Changes in food habits amongst Norwegian adolescents in 2016 and 2019 according to gender and socioeconomic status. Food & Nutrition Research, 65.
Original Articles