Study Links Avocado Consumption to Better Diet Quality in Teens
Avocado consumption is associated with higher quality diets in adolescents, according to a recent study study conducted by researchers from Loma Linda University and the University of New Mexico.
The results of the study showed that the quality of the diet of avocado consumers was significantly higher than that of those who never consumed them. attorney. The study analyzed data from 534 adolescents ages 12 to 18 who attended public and Adventist middle and high schools in Michigan and Southern California.
Senior author of the article, Gina S. Siapco, DrPH, associate professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, claims that avocado is a nutrient-dense food not common in many cuisines; however, when on the menu, it usually accompanies healthy vegetables. This explains the study that found a higher intake of plant-based foods and generally deficient nutrients among avocado consumers.
“We were surprised that the study seemed to indicate an environmental influence on our teens’ food choices,” Siapco said. “That means parents and schools can shape teens’ food intake that they’ll likely continue into adulthood.”
The study, “Associations between avocado consumption and diet quality, food intake, measures of obesity, and body composition in adolescents: the study of diet and development of teenagers”, was published in Nutrients, a journal of human nutrition, in December 2021.
This is the first study linking the avocado with adolescents to analyze the quality and health of their diet. While similar studies have been done with adult data, the lack of knowledge about adolescent diet quality has left a gaping hole. Siapco says it’s important to study teen eating habits because teens are at a crucial stage in life where they cement many habits that affect their future health as adults.
The avocado eaters in the study didn’t eat a large amount of avocado – only about 2/3 of an average avocado per week. Siapco says that while more studies are needed to determine the health benefits of avocado, exposure to avocado indirectly benefits adolescent health because avocado typically appears on plates with d other plant foods. Siapco says parents and schools need to to integrate more plant foods in adolescent diets, as these entities shape children’s food choices.
“Because they’re not the ones buying the food, teenagers eat whatever they’re exposed to,” says Siapco. “Our children should be exposed to more foods that will help them eat healthier, higher quality diets.”
Siapco hopes that parents and schools will use these results to improve the quality of their children’s diets and avoid health problems such as childhood obesity, which often follows a person throughout their life.
“With further study, we will be able to help parents and teens see the issues surrounding teens regarding their diets,” Siapco says. “Maybe we can even help intervene.”
The study is a secondary research study using data from Adolescent Nutrition and Development Study from 2014. This study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board.
More information about research at Loma Linda University Health is available in line.