BACKGROUND: Limited information exists from the dietary pattern of children and adolescents particularly in developing countries. We aimed to detect major dietary patterns and their association with socio-demographic characteristics of Iranian adolescents.
METHODS: Healthy Heart Promotion from Childhood as one of the “Isfahan Healthy Heart Program”, Iran, projects was conducted in adolescents aged 11-18 years in Isfahan, Najafabad, and Arak districts, Iran, selected randomly by multistage sampling. This survey was conducted on 1992 adolescents in 2007. Dietary intake was assessed using a 50-item food frequency questionnaire in both communities.
RESULTS: Four major dietary patterns labeled “prudent diet,” fast food diet,” “animal fat diet,” and “Mediterranean diet” were identified. We found a significant inverse relationship between prudent and animal fat dietary patterns with age, prudent and Mediterranean dietary patterns with being boy. However, a positive relationship between fast food dietary pattern and age; fast food and animal fat dietary patterns with being boy were detected (all P < 0.05). While urbanization and TV watching correlated positively with the fast food diet, an inverse relationship between urbanization and animal fat and Mediterranean dietary patterns were found (all P < 0.01). The animal fat and fast food dietary patterns inversely associated with nutrition knowledge; however, Mediterranean diet had a positive relationship with it (all P < 0.05). Membership in sport team was positively related to all dietary pattern and regular physical activity associated only with prudent diet (all P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: The study suggests that socio-demographic characteristics and physical activity are related to dietary patterns in Iranian adolescents