Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Young adults' eating patterns: a qualitative study (#267)

Felicity J Pendergast 1 , Anthony Worsley 1 , Sarah A McNaughton 1
  1. Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia

Snacking and meal skipping have been documented to be associated with many diet related chronic diseases. Some of the highest rates of both eating patterns are seen in young adults. However, there has been little research into the likely influences on these patterns in the young adult population .Therefore a qualitative investigation was conducted to identify young adults’ beliefs about the likely influences on their snacking and meal skipping behaviours.

Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 22 young adults aged 18 to 30 years (12 female and 10 male), who were purposively recruited, according to gender, age and household composition criteria using convenience and snowball sampling. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded to identify themes using N-Vivo software.

Breakfast was reported as the most commonly skipped meal. This was attributed to factors such as the day of week, lack of time, reduced hunger in the mornings and work commitments. Daily snacking was reported by all the participants and was attributed to hunger, boredom, convenience (availability) and to a lesser extent taste, easily transportable, quick to eat, day of week, social influence of friends and the location of home.

This qualitative study identified factors that are perceived to be important influences on snacking and meal skipping among young adults. This information will be used to inform future quantitative research and could aid in the development of public health strategies or interventions targeted at young adults.