OBJECTIVE: To assess seven-year time trends in energy balance-related behaviours in 14-year-old adolescents living in an urban area and to examine the influence of educational level and ethnicity on these time trends.
DESIGN: Second grade students (mean age 13·6 years) filled in questionnaires about the energy balance-related behaviours of breakfast consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and screen-time behaviour from school years 2006-2007 to 2012-2013. Energy balance-related behaviours were dichotomized and logistic regression analyses were used to examine time trends in healthy energy balance-related behaviours, including interaction terms for educational level and ethnicity.
SETTING: Secondary schools in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
SUBJECTS: Per school year, 2185-3331 children participated. The total sample included 19 244 students of Dutch, Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan ethnic background.
RESULTS: A significant linear increase was found for positive screen-time behaviour (<2 h/d; OR per year=1·04; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·06). For daily vegetable consumption a non-linear negative trend was observed (school year 2012-2013 v. 2006-2007: OR=0·90; 95 % CI 0·80, 1·00). Time trends in screen time were significantly different across educational levels (P-interaction=0·002) and ethnic backgrounds (P<0·001), as were time trends in daily fruit consumption (P=0·017 and P=0·018, respectively) and, for ethnicity, trends in daily vegetable consumption (P<0·001).
CONCLUSIONS: The increase in positive screen-time behaviour is a positive finding. However, discouraging screen time and promoting other healthy behaviours, more specifically daily fruit and vegetable consumption, remain important particularly among adolescents enrolled in pre-vocational education and of non-Dutch ethnic background.