Adolescents’ non-core food intake: A description of what, where and with whom adolescents consume non-core foods

Zoi Toumpakari*, Anne M Haase, Laura Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
504 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Little is known about adolescents’ non-core food intake in the UK and the eating context in which they consume non-core foods. This study aims to describe types of non-core foods consumed by British adolescents in total and across different eating contexts. Design: This is a descriptive analysis, using cross-sectional data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-2011.

Setting: Data from food diaries were used from 666 adolescents across the UK aged 11-18 years old. Non-core foods were classified based on cut off points of fat and sugar from the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Eating context was defined as ‘where’ and ‘with whom’ adolescents consumed each food. Percentages of non-core kcal were calculated for each food group in total and across eating contexts. A combined ranking was then created to account for a food’s contribution to non-core energy intake and its popularity of consumption (% of consumers).

Results: Non-core food comprised 39.5% of total energy intake and was mostly ‘Regular soft drinks’, ‘Crisps & savoury snacks’, ‘Chips & potato products’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Biscuits’. Adolescents ate 57% and 51.3% non-core food at ‘Eateries’ or with ‘Friends’, compared to 33.2% and 31.2% at ‘Home’ or with ‘Parents’. Persistent foods consumed across eating contexts were ‘Regular soft drinks’ and ‘Chips & potato products’.

Conclusions: Regular soft drinks contribute the most energy and are the most popular non-core food consumed by adolescents regardless of context and represent a good target for interventions to reduce non-core food consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1645-1653
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number9
Early online date16 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • non-core foods
  • adolescents
  • eating context
  • regular soft drinks

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