Nut consumption among female and male adolescents in New Zealand
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in New Zealand (NZ), with those of Māori and Pacific ethnicity disproportionately affected. Healthy dietary habits in adolescence have been shown to track into adulthood, so it is important for us to understand the dietary patterns of this age group to then support public health advice to reduce rates of heart disease and other non-communicable diseases. One dietary pattern that is associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, in particular CVD, is the regular consumption of nuts. There is little information on nut consumption patterns among adolescents. This data could be used to inform interventions and public health strategies to improve chronic disease risk. Objective: To describe nut consumption patterns among male and female adolescents in New Zealand. A secondary objective was to investigate associations between regular nut consumption and body mass index (BMI), ethnicity and socio-economic status (SES). Design: The Survey of Nutrition, Dietary Assessment and Lifestyles project (SuNDiAL) is an observational, cross-sectional survey including male and female adolescents aged 15-18 years. Participants were recruited from 13 female schools and 6 male schools in NZ. In total 266 females and 135 males enrolled in the study, with 266 females and 123 males completing the section of the dietary habits questionnaire (DHQ) about nut consumption, administered via Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) software. Height and weight measurements were taken using standard methods. BMI was categorised by WHO z-scores for adolescents. SES was measured using NZDep2018 scores based on the participants geographic location.Results: A total of 91.8% (93.1% of males, 90.9% of females) were nut consumers and 71.8% (75.0 % of males, 69.7% of females) were nut butter consumers at any level of consumption (including rarely). The most commonly consumed nuts were almonds, cashews, peanuts and pistachios. It appeared that consumption of almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, walnut butter and other nut butters was higher in males; however, this was not statistically significant. Likewise, for females it appeared that the consumption of brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, other nuts, almond butter and peanut butter was higher; however, this was not statistically significant. A total of 36.2% of participants were regular nut consumers (defined as consumption greater than 5-6 times per week). There was an apparent trend whereby regular nut consumers were more likely to have a healthy body weight (39.3%), be of Pacific ethnicity (57.1%), and be living in areas of low deprivation (39.6%). However, these trends were not significant.Conclusion: Nut consumption among both male and female adolescents in New Zealand is low. Consumption appears to be sporadic rather than regular. It is, therefore, unlikely that many adolescents are meeting the 30 g/day New Zealand Heart Foundation (NZHF) guideline–a recommendation specified to gain optimal cardioprotective benefit. Future research is needed, in particular addressing the lower intakes among those living in areas of high deprivation and those of Māori ethnicity. This is important to reduce health disparities and improve future outcomes for these populations.
Advisor: Brown, Rachel
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; nuts; nut; adolescent; teenagers; nutrition; cardiovascular disease; consumption
Research Type: Thesis