Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities (EJPAU) founded by all Polish Agriculture Universities presents original papers and review articles relevant to all aspects of agricultural sciences. It is target for persons working both in science and industry,regulatory agencies or teaching in agricultural sector. Covered by IFIS Publishing (Food Science and Technology Abstracts), ELSEVIER Science - Food Science and Technology Program, CAS USA (Chemical Abstracts), CABI Publishing UK and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publisher - full membership). Presented in the Master List of Thomson ISI.
Volume 11
Issue 4
Food Science and Technology
Available Online: http://www.ejpau.media.pl/volume11/issue4/art-10.html


Julita Reguła, Małgorzata Woźniewicz
Department of Human Nutrition and Hygiene University of Life Sciences in Poznań, Poland



The purpose of this study was the estimation nutritive value of diets and nutritional status in 182 adolescents aged 12-15 years from region Wielkopolska. Nutritive value of diets were assessed by weekly recall method. Nutritional status was measured by means of anthropometrics index, body composition (FM-fat mass, FFM-fat free mass-BIA method). Diets of adolescents were not correct in the respect of minerals and vitamins. Body weight and FM value were significantly correlated with the energy value of the daily food ration and the share of energy from fat. The BMI value in the analyzed population of youngsters was significantly correlated with contents of carbohydrates and fat in daily food rations. In all population we observed high percent girls and boys with malnutrition also overweight.

Key words: nutrition value, diets, adolescents, nutritional status.


The  adopted diet is an essential element of lifestyle responsible for the health state of all humans, but this problem is of paramount importance especially in children and teenagers. A wrong diet may disturb the process of growth and pubescence, and at the same time it may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, insulin-independent diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, or osteoporosis. An incorrect diet may also result in the immune system disorders, problems with concentration and irritability.

Studies concerning the method of nutrition in young people indicate numerous irregularities [1, 8, 10, 12]. We may observe an insufficient supply of energy, an excessive share of energy derived from fat and a too limited energy supply from carbohydrates and protein, as well as too low dietary fiber contents. Additionally, an insufficient consumption of minerals and vitamins is recorded [8, 12]. Moreover, a considerable variation was observed in food rations consumed by girls and boys. Systematic and insightful studies on the diets of children and teenagers with the simultaneous monitoring of the state of nutrition make it possible to determine various irregularities and facilitate the adoption of appropriate preventive measures aiming at the improvement of health state [5].

The  aim of the investigations conducted within this study was to assess daily food rations for girls and boys aged 12-15 years, living in the Wielkopolskie province, in terms of the energy value and nutrient contents, and to determine parameters of the state of nutrition based on an analysis of body composition, fat mass and fat-free mass.


Investigations covered a group of 182 children and teenagers, 108 girls and 74 boys aged 12-15 years, selected at random from among pupils from region Wielkopolska. Anthropometric parameters of individuals included in the study are presented in Table 1. Children and teenagers and their parents expressed their willingness to participate in the study and the experimental protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee.

The  diet was assessed using the method of a 24-h recall, conducted for one week. The  nutritive value of the daily food rations corrected for technological and cooking losses was calculated using "Dietetyk 2006" software by "JuMaR".

Assessment of the state of nutrition included anthropometric measurements, analysis of body composition and the determination of subcutaneous fat deposition. Body composition was determined using a non-invasive method of bioelectrical impedance with a BIA 101S bioanalyzer (AKERN-RJL) following all recommendations by Lukaski and Johnson [6].

Testing results were subjected to statistical analysis using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple regression analysis was carried out. All calculations were performed using STATISTICA™PL 7.0 software package by StatSoft.


Table 1 presents parameters of the state of nutrition of girls and boys included in the study. Significantly higher BMI values, fat mass and skin fold thickness were recorded in girls in comparison to boys. The  mean fat mass percentage in girls was 26 ± 5.9, although in 8% population of girls fat mass (FM) values below 15% and in 26% population FM exceeding 30% were recorded. In turn, in boys the mean FM percentage was 22 ± 5.8; however, in 10% boys it was lower than 15%, and in 9% it exceeded 30%. The  % FM in body was significantly correlated (Fig. 1) with contents of energy and fat intake from daily food rations (multiple correlation coefficient r = 0.66, p < 0.001). Body weight and FM [kg] value were significantly correlated (multiple correlation coefficient r = 0.62, p < 0.001) with the energy value of the daily food ration and the share of energy from fat.

Table 1. Anthropometric parameters of the adolescents ( x ± sd )
ParametrGirls n=108Boys n=74
*** p < 0.001
Height [cm]162 ± 5.9162 ± 9.4
Weight [kg]53.1 ± 10.850.7 ± 10.3
BMI20.2 ± 3.519.1 ± 2.2***
FM [kg]14.0 ± 5.911.1 ± 3.9***
FFM [kg]39.1 ± 5.839.6 ± 8.1
Skin fold thickness [mm]1.3 ± 0.890.85 ± 0.39***
Fig. 1. The  correlation beetwen %FM in body and energy [kcal] and fat [g] intake from diets
Figure 1

The  thickness of dermomuscular folds was correlated with FM value at r = 0.56 (p < 0.001). No significant differences in fat-free mass (FFM) were observed between boys and girls.

The  BMI value in the analyzed population of youngsters was significantly correlated with contents of carbohydrates and fat in daily food rations (multiple correlation coefficient r = 0.76, p < 0.001) (Fig. 2). It was found that body mass index of children and teenagers would be in norm when fat supply in diet was not higher than 130 g per day.

Fig. 2. The  correlation beetwen BMI and carbohydrate [g] and fat [g] intake from diets
Figure 2

Energy value of diets for both girls and boys was located in a recommended dietary allowances; however, their diets were characterized by excess fat content (over 35% energy), at low protein and carbohydrate contents (Table 2).

Table 2. Nutrient intake in daily diets of girls and boys ( x ± sd ) [per day]
*** p < 0.001
Energy [kcal]
2539 ± 689
10.6 ± 2.88
2730 ± 592
11.4 ± 2.47
Protein [g]74 ± 2585 ± 33
Fat [g]106 ± 39106 ± 34
Carbohydrate [g]321 ± 92357 ± 102***
Energy from [%]
12 ± 2.9
37 ± 7.9
51 ± 7.4
13 ± 3.7
35 ± 9.0
52 ± 9.3
Cholesterol [mg]283 ± 193317 ± 235
Fibre [g]20.1 ± 8.823 ± 8.3
Ca [mg]
P [mg]
Fe [mg]
Mg [mg]
 732 ± 335
1200 ± 403
13.2 ± 6.2
263 ± 86
 879 ± 445***
1435 ± 519***
14 ± 4.5
309 ± 111***
Equivalent of retinol [µg]
B1 [mg]
B2 [mg]
B6 [mg]
C [mg]
PP [mg]
1038 ±1580
1.35 ± 0.55
1.64 ± 0.58
1.53 ± 0.58
64.5 ± 53
13.2 ± 5.7
857 ± 725
1.63 ± 0.60***
1.78 ± 0.54
1.68 ± 0.73
70.8 ± 46
15.5 ± 7.4***

In all analyzed individuals high cholesterol supply was recorded. Moreover, food rations consumed by youngsters were not properly balanced in terms of the supply of minerals and vitamins. Significant gender differences were observed in the consumption of selected minerals (Ca, P, Mg). Diets of both boys and girls were characterized by a low Ca supply (mean consumption was lower in girls) and a high P supply, as well as an inappropriate ratio of these nutrients. At the same time for girls a low (78% recommended allowance) iron consumption was recorded.

In the analyzed group of children and teenagers appropriate consumption level of vitamins C, A and B1 was observed in relation to the recommended allowances. Low consumption constituting approx. 70% allowance was recorded in both groups for vitamin PP.


An appropriate diet is an important element affecting the psychophysical development of the young organism. The  conducted analysis of the diets of teenagers aged 12-15 years showed several irregularities in relation to nutritional recommendations for this age group. The  high fat and cholesterol was observed in diets. High fat content in the diet in the opinion many authors [2, 5, 10] is a high risk factor for the development of obesity, while high cholesterol supply is especially disadvantageous in the view of atherosclerosis threat, even in the early periods of life.

A low supply of calcium and a high supply of phosphorus were found in the diets of girls and boys, together with their inappropriate ratio, which is quite a common phenomenon recorded in studies on the diets of different population groups in Poland [3, 13]. It needs to be stressed that calcium deficit in the diet of teenagers leads to disorders during growth and development, as well as the formation of peak bone mass. Moreover, it contributes to decreased tolerance of the organism to pollutants, such as e.g. lead and cadmium. In turn, excess phosphorus in the diet may lead to considerable changes in Ca metabolism, causing its decreased absorption and stimulation of parathyroid glands and enhanced bone resorption [13].

A low iron supply, corresponding to the findings of other authors [4, 11, 16] is deeply disturbing, especially in case of girls. A low iron supply in relation to the recommended allowance is connected with high risk of anaemia in girls.

A positive trend in the diet was a relatively high consumption of antioxidative vitamins. Among vitamins B low supply was recorded for vitamins B2 and PP. Nadolna and Kunachowicz [7] expressed the opinion that a poor supply of vitamins B could be caused by low nutritional density of cereals.

Moreover, in the analyzed group of teenagers considerable irregularities were found in their diets, along with the observed significant percentage of individuals with values of anthropometric parameters indicating their malnutrition or obesity. Long-term observations show that many obese children grow up to be obese adults, with an increased risk of metabolic diseases, such as e.g. diet-controlled diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, arterial hypertension, or disorders in the clotting system [9]. In recent years a trend is also observed in the nutrition of teenagers to decrease the energy value of food rations in relation to the fashion to maintain a slim figure and a growing interest in slimming diets [14, 15]. This phenomenon is deeply disturbing, since such a diet is connected with the risk of deficiencies of many nutrients and as a consequence of a disturbed development of the organism. In our study some teenagers had also anthropometric parameters differing from the reference values.

In conclusion it needs to be stated that both continuous monitoring of the diet of children and teenagers and the assessment of parameters of their state of nutrition are required. In the future this might make it possible to control the development of diseases, resulting from inappropriate nutrition, in this group of individuals.


  1. At 8% population of girls the fat mass content below 15% was observed, while in 26% population this value exceeded 30%. In turn, in 10% boys FM percentage was lower than 15%, while in 9% it exceeded 30%.
  2. The  percentage of FM in body was significantly correlated with contents of energy and fat intake from daily food rations.
  3. The  BMI value in the analyzed population of youngsters was significantly correlated with contents of carbohydrates and fat in daily food rations.
  4. In the analyzed group of teenagers considerable irregularities were found in the diet and a large percentage of teenagers was found to have values of anthropometric parameters indicating malnutrition or overweight.


  1. Augustyniak U., Brzozowska A., 2002. Sposób żywienia młodzieży w Polsce na podstawie piśmiennictwa z ostatnich 10 lat (1990-2000) [Eating habit of adolescents in Poland on the basis of literature from 10 last years (1990 - 2000)]. Rocz. PZH 53, (4), 399-406 [in Polish].
  2. Jeszka J., Reguła J., Kostrzewa-Tarnowska A., Walczak M., 1998. Evaluation of dietary energy balance and dietary habits, nutritional status in the obese children. Med. Metabol. 2, 4, 19-25.
  3. Jeżewska-Zychowicz M., 2006. Assessment of milk and milk products consumption among adolescents aged 13-15 according to their place of residence. Acta Sci.Pol., Technol. Aliment. 5 (1), 163-170.
  4. Kersting M., Aleby U., Sichert Hellert W., 2001. Dietary intake and ford sources of minerals in 1 to 18 year old German children and adolescents. Nutr. Res. 21, 4, 607.
  5. Kłosiewicz-Latoszek L., Kosińska I., 2000. Wykrywanie i zapobieganie miażdżycy u dzieci i młodzieży [Detecting and preventing atherosclerosis at children and young people]. Probl. Hig. 68, 55-62 [in Polish].
  6. Lukaski H.C., Johnson P.E., 1998. A simple inexpensive method of determining total body water using a tracer does of D2O and infrared absorption of biological fluids. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 41, 363-370.
  7. Nadolna I., Kunachowicz H., 1994. Badania analityczne nad składem i wartością odżywczą racji pokarmowych. Cz. 4. Zawartość witamin z grupy B [Analytical research on composition and the nutritive value of daily rations. Part 4. Content of vitamins from B group]. Żyw. Człow. Metab. 21, 25 [in Polish].
  8. Ostrowska A., Szewczynski J., Gajewska M., 2003. Wartość odżywcza całodziennych racji pokarmowych uczniów szkół średnich z województwa mazowieckiego. Cz. 1. Składniki podstawowe [Nutritive value of daily food rations of students of secondary schools in Mazowieckie Province. Part 1. Fundamental elements]. Żyw. Człow. Metab. 30, 362-366 [in Polish].
  9. Overweight, obesity and health risk. National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. 2000, Arch. Intern. Med. 160, 898-904.
  10. Parizkova J., 2000. Dietary habits and nutritional status in adolescents in Central and Eastern Europe. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 54, supl. I, 536.
  11. Przybyszewska J., Waluś A., Jaworska A., 2005. Wartość odżywcza całodziennych racji pokarmowych młodzieży z regionu kujawsko-pomorskiego [Nutritive value of daily rations in adolescents from kujawsko-pomorskie region]. Żyw. Człow. Metab. 32, Supl. 1, 339-345 [in Polish].
  12. Przysławski J., Duda G., 2000. Sposób żywienia młodzieży szkolnej-badania porównawcze-lata 80 te vs. 90 te [Eating habit of school adolescents-comparative study-years 80-90]. Probl. Hig. 69, 42-48 [in Polish].
  13. Randerath O., 1999. Znaczenie wapnia w patogenezie, profilaktyce i leczeniu osteoporozy [Role of calcium in pathogeneses, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis]. Med. Biol. 1, 8 [in Polish].
  14. Reguła J., Jeszka J., 2008. Changes of body composition during weight reduction program based on the diet and physical exercises and long term effectiveness of this therapy in obese adolescents. Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 7 (3), 55-63.
  15. Reguła J., Jeszka J., Gramza A., 2005. A comparison of the nutritional value of selected reducing diets with regard to micronutrients. Pol. J. Hum. Nutr. Metabol. 32, 1/2, 693-699.
  16. Szponar L., Ołtarzewski M., Rychlik E., 2002. Zawartość wybranych witamin i składników mineralnych w całodziennym pożywieniu Polaków [The  content of selected vitamins and minerale in daily diets of Poles]. Żyw. Człow. Metab. supl. 114-118 [in Polish].

Julita Reguła
Department of Human Nutrition and Hygiene
University of Life Sciences in Poznań, Poland
Wojska Polskiego 31, 60-624 Poznań, Poland
phone: (61) 8487339
fax: (61) 8487332
email: jumar@up.poznan.pl

Małgorzata Woźniewicz
Department of Human Nutrition and Hygiene
University of Life Sciences in Poznań, Poland
Wojska Polskiego 31, 60-624 Poznań, Poland
phone: (61) 8487339
fax: (61) 8487332

Responses to this article, comments are invited and should be submitted within three months of the publication of the article. If accepted for publication, they will be published in the chapter headed 'Discussions' and hyperlinked to the article.