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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • ethnicity;
  • diet survey;
  • questionnaires

Abstract

Objective: To compare dietary intakes of European, Māori, Pacific Island and Asian adolescents living in Auckland.

Methods: A self-administered food frequency questionnaire was used to assess daily nutrient intakes of 2,549 14- to 21-year-old high-school students in Auckland (1,422 male and 1,127 female) in a cross-sectional survey carried out between 1997 and 1998.

Results: Compared with Europeans, Māori and Pacific Islanders consumed more energy per day. Carbohydrate, protein and fat intakes were higher in Māori and Pacific Islanders than in Europeans. Cholesterol intakes were lowest in Europeans and alcohol intakes were highest in Europeans and Māori. When nutrient intakes were expressed as their percentage contribution to total energy, many ethnic differences in nutrient intakes between Europeans and Māori or Pacific Islanders were eliminated. After adjustment for energy intake and age, Europeans ate the fewest eggs, and Pacific Islanders and Asians ate more servings of chicken and fish, and fewer servings of milk and cereal than Europeans. Compared to Europeans, Pacific Islanders consumed larger portion sizes for nearly every food item.

Conclusion: There were marked differences in nutrient intakes between Pacific, Māori, Asian and European adolescents. Ethnic differences in food selections, frequency of food servings and portion sizes contribute to the differences in nutrient intakes between these ethnic groups. These differences generally matched those of other studies in children and adults from these ethnic groups.

Implications: Interventions that reduce frequency of food consumption and serving sizes and promote less-fatty food choices in Māori and Pacific adolescents are needed.