The aim of this dissertation is to describe selected dietary practices and to examine how they associate with demographic, school food environmental factors and substance use among a sample of alternative high school students. The dietary practices examined in this research are consumption of regular soda, sports drinks, other sugar-sweetened beverages, high fat food, fruits and vegetables, and frequency of fast food restaurant use. Bronfenbrenner's ecological model guided the development of this research. Data were drawn from the Team COOL (Controlling Overweight and Obesity for Life) pilot study, a multi-component diet and physical activity intervention trial in six alternative public high schools (four urban and two suburban) in the St. Paul- Minneapolis metropolitan area. A convenience sample of 145 students (gender: 52% male; age: 63% <18 years; race/ethnicity: 39% white, 32% black, and 29% other/multiracial) completed baseline surveys in the fall of 2006. The current study used a cross-sectional design. Mixed model analysis of variance was used to examine associations between students' selected dietary practices and the explanatory variables in separate analyses for each outcome variable.
This research consisted of three studies. A major finding that emerged from the first study was that black students reported higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, high fat foods and fast food restaurant use than all other students. The findings of the second study indicated that more eating and drinking opportunities during the school day were associated with higher student consumption of all sugar-sweetened beverages, high fat foods, and frequency of fast food restaurant use. The results of the third study indicated that this group of at-risk youth frequently used substances, and that their use of cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana as well as multi-substance use were each associated with higher consumption of high fat foods. In addition, cigarette smoking was associated with higher consumption of regular soda, high fat foods, and higher frequency of fast food restaurant use. Overall, the data show that this sample of alternative high school students reported many unhealthful dietary practices and frequently used cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. These findings underscore the importance of implementing comprehensive health programming in alternative high schools.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2009. Major: Nutrition. Advisor: Mary Story, PhD, RD. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 238 pages, appendices A-E.
The role of sociodemographic, behavioral and environmental factors on dietary practices of students attending alternative high schools..
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