Dietary and lifestyle differences between Scottish teenagers and those living in England and Wales.

European journal of clinical nutrition

PubMedID: 9049566

Crawley H. Dietary and lifestyle differences between Scottish teenagers and those living in England and Wales. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997;51(2):87-91.
To investigate the dietary differences reported by teenagers in Scotland compared with teenagers from elsewhere in Britain, allowing for a range of other demographic, personal and lifestyle variables.

Data was taken from the 1970 longitudinal birth cohort study which collected data cross-sectionally at 16-17 y.

The respondents were distributed throughout Britain.

A sub-sample of 1615 respondents was selected (M = 658, F = 957). The criterion for selection were a completed 4 d dietary diary and a 4 d activity diary and the completion of a number of other questionnaires to provide demographic and lifestyle data by both the respondent and the parent of the respondent.

The diets of Scottish teenagers were significantly different to those of teenagers in England and Wales even when allowing for differences in smoking habits, parental smoking, alcohol intake, family size and housing tenure: factors which were also different among the Scottish cohort. Intakes of fibre, magnesium, phosphorous, retinol equivalents, carotene and riboflavin were significantly lower in Scotland among males and females, as were intakes of non-processed vegetables and non-fried potato, skimmed milks, fat spreads high in polyunsaturates and beer. Scottish teenagers drank more soft drinks and ate more chips and white bread than their counterparts in England and Wales. No differences were noted in intakes of vitamin C and fruit based on regional distribution: lower intakes of fruit in Scotland appeared to be associated with the higher incidence of teenage smoking.

The diets of Scottish teenagers appeared to be further from current dietary recommendations than the diets of teenagers elsewhere in Britain, but the lower intakes of fruit among Scottish teenagers commonly reported is likely to be associated with teenage smoking rather than living in Scotland itself. Care should be taken when evaluating dietary surveys that known confounding variables are included.