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Variation in meal-skipping rates of Korean adolescents according to socio-economic status: results of the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey

Variation in meal-skipping rates of Korean adolescents according to socio-economic status: results of the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey

  • February 09, 2021
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Objectives: To identify and evaluate the trend of meal-skipping rates among Korean adolescents with their contributing causes and the influence of household income level on meal skipping.

Methods: Using 2008, 2010, and 2012 data from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey of 222 662 students, a cross-sectional study with subgroup analysis was performed. We calculated odds ratios for skipping each meal 5 or more times in a week by household socio-economic status using a multiple logistic regression model. The secular change in the meal-skipping rates by the students’ family affluence scale was analyzed by comparing the meal-skipping students within each subgroup and odds ratios for the same event over time.

Results: Through 2008 to 2012, most of the meal-skipping rates generally showed a continuous increase or were almost unchanged in both sexes, except for breakfast skipping in several subgroups. Students in low-income households not living with both parents had the highest meal-skipping rates and odds ratios for frequent meal skipping. In a time-series subgroup analysis, the overall odds ratios for the same event increased during 2008 to 2012, with a slight reduction in the gap between low and higher income levels with regard to meal skipping during 2010 to 2012.

Conclusions: Household socio-economic status and several other factors had a significant influence on Korean adolescent meal-skipping rates. Although the gap in eating behavior associated with household socio-economic differences is currently decreasing, further study and appropriate interventions are needed.

Keywords: Adolescent; Eating habits; Meal skipping; Social class.

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