OBJECTIVES: To assess social inequalities in changes in dietary behaviors among adolescents during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we compared changes in dietary behavior indicators by household income. METHODS: Using cross-sectional data from the 2019 and 2020 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the prevalence of dietary behaviors in adolescents (12-18 years old) was estimated and changes in dietary behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic were evaluated. We assessed changes in dietary behaviors with a household income (as a measure of socioeconomic status, SES) disparity. RESULTS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the average consumption of vegetables decreased and food insecurity worsened. Adolescents were more likely to skip breakfast than before COVID-19 (33.1 and 37.4%). Soft drink consumption also increased in 2020 from 2019 (7.6 and 14.8%), especially among boys. Average sugar intake and sodium intake showed a tendency to decrease only in girls, but there was no significant difference according to SES level. Skipping breakfast was particularly evident in the low-SES group, and the difference according to household income level (high vs. low) was greater during COVID-19 than before. The prevalence of soft drink consumption increased significantly in the low-SES group, but the rate of increase did not differ by SES level. CONCLUSIONS: We found that the social disparity in skipping breakfast was further aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach a better understanding of the dietary behaviors of adolescents, continuous monitoring is necessary.
- Feeding behavior
- Socioeconomic factors