Food Consumption and Nutrition Among Teens in Trujillo, Peru

Maziar M. Nourian, Bradley Weaver, Jane H. Ricks M.D., Scott Benson M.D. PhD. MPH

University of Utah

Background: WHO asserts that 1.7 million (2.8%) of deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption and that low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 risk factors for global mortality. WHO also estimates that worldwide, insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables causes 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths and 9% of stroke deaths. This study assesses the nutritional health of teenagers of Trujillo, Peru.

Methods: In 2012, an adapted form of the Global School-Based Student Health Survey was administered to students at schools throughout Trujillo, Peru. The five questions on nutrition were examined and calculated using percent answered according to established guidelines with confidence intervals. The results collected by University of Utah students with the help of Universidad de Cesar Vallejo (UCV) were then compared to those obtained from 2,882 students in Lima in 2010.

Results: 2,529 students from five schools and eleven regions of Trujillo responded. 57.1%* ate fruits two or more times a day (Lima 31.7%), 21.9%* ate vegetables three or more times a day (Lima 8.9%), 52.7% of students drank soft drinks once or more a day (Lima 54.0%), 15.3%* of students ate fast food three or more times a week (Lima 10.7%), and 2.0%* of students were hungry almost always or always (Lima 3.2%). *Statistically significant difference.

Conclusion: The WHO aims to actively promote an increase in fruit and vegetable intake worldwide, especially in developing countries with the central aim of school health programs. Our data suggests that students of Trujillo are better able to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diets versus students of Lima; however, fast food consumption is higher among students in Trujillo. This information can be used to better address nutritional needs of children in hopes of improving health status.

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