Adolescence is generally the period of time when individuals develop their dietary habits and food preferences. Several factors such as peer influence, parental modeling, food availability, food preferences, cost, convenience, cultural and personal beliefs, mass media and body image affect the eating pattern of youngsters.
However there are some common eating habits that are seen among teens and these include increased frequency of skipping meals especially breakfast and lunch, increased consumption of fast food, excessive snacking and dieting is popular among some youngsters.
Consequently, it can be assumed that young people are more likely to adopt unhealthy eating patterns but the positive point is that these eating habits are variable depending on the psychosocial and cognitive development of the individual.Therefore, these can be improved through appropriate nutrition education programmes as well as nutrition interventions.
Moreover, parents can act as gatekeepers by controlling the type and availability of foods in the teenager’s environment. This can be achieved by increasing the availability of nutritious, easy to grab foods in the refrigerator instead of favouring access to energy dense foods.