Seven-year time trends in energy balance-related behaviours according to educational level and ethnic background among 14-year-old adolescents

Frederika J. Meijerink, C. Leontine Van Vuuren*, Hanneke A H Wijnhoven, Manon Van Eijsden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective To assess seven-year time trends in energy balance-related behaviours in 14-year-old adolescents living in an urban area and to examine the influence of educational level and ethnicity on these time trends. Design Second grade students (mean age 13·6 years) filled in questionnaires about the energy balance-related behaviours of breakfast consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and screen-time behaviour from school years 2006-2007 to 2012-2013. Energy balance-related behaviours were dichotomized and logistic regression analyses were used to examine time trends in healthy energy balance-related behaviours, including interaction terms for educational level and ethnicity. Setting Secondary schools in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Subjects Per school year, 2185-3331 children participated. The total sample included 19 244 students of Dutch, Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan ethnic background. Results A significant linear increase was found for positive screen-time behaviour (<2 h/d; OR per year=1·04; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·06). For daily vegetable consumption a non-linear negative trend was observed (school year 2012-2013 v. 2006-2007: OR=0·90; 95 % CI 0·80, 1·00). Time trends in screen time were significantly different across educational levels (P-interaction=0·002) and ethnic backgrounds (P<0·001), as were time trends in daily fruit consumption (P=0·017 and P=0·018, respectively) and, for ethnicity, trends in daily vegetable consumption (P<0·001). Conclusions The increase in positive screen-time behaviour is a positive finding. However, discouraging screen time and promoting other healthy behaviours, more specifically daily fruit and vegetable consumption, remain important particularly among adolescents enrolled in pre-vocational education and of non-Dutch ethnic background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-787
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015


  • Adolescents
  • Education
  • Energy balance-related behaviours
  • Ethnicity
  • Time trends


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