Document Type : Research Article (s)


1 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kırklareli University, Kırklareli, Turkey

2 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey


Background: Unhealthy dietary behaviors are suggested among the factors leading to obesity in adolescents. Adolescents tend to consume unhealthy food at school. However, whether these habits differ by gender is not known. The present study aimed to evaluate gender differences in adolescents’ dietary behaviors at school and to determine the relationship between these behaviors and abdominal obesity by gender.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 1020 fifth-eighth grader students (502 boys and 518 girls) in Kırklareli, Turkey, between November 2019 and December 2019. Dietary behaviors and anthropometric measurements were obtained. Descriptive statistics were shown as numbers and percentages. Chi-Square test was used to compare the classified data. Statistical significance was evaluated at P<0.05.
Results: Among these students, 40.8% of the boys and 22.0% of the girls had abdominal obesity (P<0.001). The daily breakfast consumption of the boys was higher than that of the girls (P=0.038). Snack consumption in school was higher in the girls (P=0.002). Moreover, carrying a lunchbox to school (P<0.001) and shopping from the school canteen (P=0.042) were more frequent in the girls. Between meals, the consumption of bagel/pastry (P=0.031), plain mineral water/light beverages (P=0.037), and carbonated beverages (P<0.001) was higher in the boys. Meanwhile nuts (P=0.022) and fruit/fresh fruit juice consumption was higher in the girls (P<0.001). The girls preferred biscuits/cakes (P=0.032) and candy (P=0.001), whereas the boys preferred sandwiches (P=0.008) at a higher rate when shopping at the canteen. Consumption of the three main meals was lower in the boys with obesity (P=0.008). Daily breakfast consumption was lower in the girls with obesity (P=0.015).
Conclusions: This study suggested that girls tend to consume unhealthy foods in the canteen and boys tend to consume unhealthy beverages between meals. Furthermore, skipping meals was found to contribute to obesity in adolescents.