Maria Norburg Tell´s research

Food Choice Among Children and Adolescents – Co-Variation and Change Over Time

Food choices in young people, co-variation and change over time are studied through a repeated cross-sectional study over seven years, as well as young people’s perceptions of the reasons behind their food choices in an interview study

According to the School Act, Student Health is to offer pupils in Sweden health visits with health conversation four times during school hours. Using a conversation underlay as a preparation and starting point for the health conversation is one way of talking about living habits. The self-reported eating habits and dietary patterns of children and adolescents in the context of a health conversation in Student Health from an entire county have not previously been studied. There is lack of knowledge of the relationship between young people’s food choices and perceived health and BMI and self-image. There is insufficient knowledge of young people’s perception of the reasons for their food choices

The overall aim of the doctoral thesis is to deepen the knowledge about food choices in young people and to study how they correlate with other factors that are important for health (self-assessed health, BMI and self-image), as well as young people’s views on the causes of their food choices. Part of the purpose is to study whether food choices have changed over time.

The population consists of 10-, 13- or 14- and 16-year-olds, who answered the communication underlay “My Health”, in connection with health visits at the school nurse the academic years 2009-2010 to 2015-2016. Registry data from these responses are used for study part 1-3. For -study part 4, data will be collected via focus group interviews with 16-year-olds. Study 1-3 is approved by the Regional Ethics Review Board in Linköping, no. 2018 / 19-31. Ethical application for part-work 4 is planned.

The doctoral work is expected to provide a broader understanding of food choices in young people, how these choices relate to other food choices, and co-varying factors, based on which effective dietary interventions in this age group can be designed.


Linköping University

Katarina Hedin MD, PhD, Associated Professor