Families and Food in Hard Times at the European Association for Research on Adolescence

Photo: Antonia SimonPhoto: Antonia Simon
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On Monday 19th September Antonia Simon, a member of the study’s UK research team, presents at the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA) in La Barrosa Cadiz Spain. The title of this year’s conference is “¿Qué será, será? Adolescent Research into the Future: Visions and Challenges”.  Antonia’s paper describes Changing Trends in young people’s food behaviour and wellbeing in England in relation to family affluence between 2005 and 2014.

Research shows that healthy eating improves long-term outcomes for children and that food consumption varies in the UK by family affluence and gender. However, little is known about how these associations may be changing over time. Descriptive analysis was carried out using the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey data for England for the years 2005, 2009 and 2014. The paper reports on how consumption of breakfast, fruit, vegetables and soft drinks compares for young people aged 11-15 years by family affluence (low versus medium/high family affluence), gender and wellbeing measures. The results show young people in the low FAS 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. Young people in the low FAS group also tend to have lower self-reported ratings on other wellbeing measures examined. There is evidence of a ‘closing gap’ between the low FAS and higher FAS groups over time in terms of some behaviours, namely eating breakfast regularly, eating more fruit and consuming less sugary drinks. While the patterns reported here are complex to interpret and cannot be directly linked to healthy eating policy interventions in the UK, they do highlight some potentially positive effects for addressing dietary inequalities.


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