Purpose: To investigate dietary knowledge and beliefs of schoolchildren, in relationship to breakfast choices, with specific attention to fat and fiber content. Methods: Food choice and perceptions were studied by interviews using the "stacking box methodology". Youth (n = 181) aged 11-15 years were instructed to select food items among photographs of breakfast foods. In addition to choosing their own typical breakfasts, they were asked to exchange foods in hypothetical breakfasts to create meals with less fat and more fiber. The interview also dealt with recent changes in breakfast habits, and perceptions of healthy breakfasts, dietary fat, and foods rich in fiber. Data were analyzed by logistic regression. Results: Knowledge concerning sources and health attributes of dietary fiber was associated with usual consumption of bread and breakfast cereals rich in fiber. In a similar way, a positive attitude toward limited fat intake predicted consumption of reduced-fat milk products. However, no association was observed between food choices and knowledge of a food-packaging symbol indicating low-fat and fiber-enriched foods. Conclusion: Lack of awareness of, and knowledge about, healthy eating may be important barriers to the development of health promoting food habits by schoolchildren. © Society for Adolescent Medicine, 2002.
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