PARENTAL INFLUENCE ON ADOLESCENTS’ DIETARY PATTERNS IN ALIMOSHO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA
The eating habits of adolescents are of concern for public health, as there is a direct association between inadequate diet during this phase and the occurrence of obesity. Adolescents are considered to be a nutritionally vulnerable segment of the population. Adolescents’ initial experiences with eating and food are strongly shaped by the parents. The links between parental involvement and influence on adolescents’ dietary practices have been the least explored area. The general objective of this study was to assess parental involvement, and factors associated with the dietary patterns of adolescents in the study area.
This research was a cross-sectional survey which was carried out among 411 respondents (parent-adolescent dyads) who resided in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos state. A semi-structured instrument (questionnaire) was used for data collection. They were selected through the use of the multistage random sampling technique which involved the selection of wards and houses which made it possible to get to the participants for the study. Associations between selected factors of adolescents’ dietary patterns (daily intake of candy and sweets, soft drinks, fruit and vegetables) and parental socio-economic position (occupation and income) was examined. Data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 21 with levels of significance set at 0.05.
Findings revealed that there were 235 (57.3%) male adolescents and 176 (42.8%) female adolescents in this study with mean age of 16.09 ± 2.17 with however most adolescents (23.8%) of age 17 years old. Findings showed that these individual factors affecting dietary pattern varied across the demographic characteristics of both adolescents and parents; gender of respondents was found to have varied individual factors (df = 11; F = 11.72; P < 0,05), also was age of adolescents (df = 11; F = 10.26; P < 0,05), religion (df = 11; F = 11.20; P < 0,05). Dietary pattern of adolescents however was described as follows: consumption of red meat (beef), chicken and fish was low as just only 32 adolescents consumed these always as compared to 238 and 126 adolescents who never and rarely consumed these respectively. Result showed that adolescents’ parents involvement has a significant influence of their dietary pattern (F = 13.76; R Square = 0.033; P < 0.05) which can be deduced to be a 3.3% influence. However, this influence was determined to be negative (t = -3.71; β = -0.18) indicating the involvement of parent led to a low dietary pattern of adolescents in this study area.
In conclusion, parental involvement was poor, from playing role model and making healthy food available to eat at home, this in turn led to a poor dietary pattern by respondents. In light of this, health promotion intervention tailored towards improving dietary pattern of adolescents should not only be directed towards the adolescent but rather towards their parents and also, design of public health education program should be carried out which will aim at increasing the knowledge of parents on the needed classes of food that makes up a balanced diet.
Keywords: Parents, Involvement, Dietary patterns, Adolescents and Associated Factors.