The burden of psychological distress and unhealthy dietary behaviours among 222,401 school-going adolescents from 61 countries

Md Shajedur Rahman Shawon, Rashawan Raziur Rouf, Esrat Jahan, Fariha Binte Hossain, Sultan Mahmood, Rajat Das Gupta, Md Irteja Islam, Gulam Muhammed Al Kibria, Shariful Islam

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We aimed to calculate the sex-specific prevalence of psychological distress and unhealthy eating habits among adolescents across countries and regions, and to explore their potential associations. We used data from the Global School-Based Health Survey (GSHS) for 61 countries. Psychological distress was defined based on the existence of ≥ 2 factors from the following: loneliness, anxiety, suicide ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempt. Four unhealthy dietary behaviours were examined: inadequate fruit intake, inadequate vegetable intake, daily consumption of soft drinks, and weekly fast-food consumption. We used random-effects meta-analysis to estimate the overall and regional pooled prevalence. Mixed-effect multilevel logistic regressions were used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of unhealthy dietary behaviours in relation to psychological distress. Among 222,401 school-going adolescents (53.3% girls), the prevalence of psychological distress was 17.9%, with girls reporting higher than boys (20.8% vs. 14.9%). Adolescents in the African region reported the highest prevalence (22.5%), while those in the South-East Asia region reported the lowest (11.3%). The prevalence of inadequate fruit intake, inadequate vegetable intake, daily soft drink consumption, and weekly fast-food consumption was 37.0%, 28.5%, 50.0%, and 57.4% respectively. Psychological distress was associated with inadequate fruit intake (pooled aOR = 1.19, 95% CI 1.17–1.23), inadequate vegetable intake (pooled OR = 1.19, 1.16–1.22), daily consumption of soft drinks (pooled aOR = 1.14, 1.12–1.17), and weekly consumption of fast food (pooled aOR = 1.12, 1.09–1.15). Our findings indicate a substantial variance in the burden of psychological distress and unhealthy dietary behaviours across different regions. Adolescents experiencing psychological distress were more likely to have unhealthy dietary habits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21894
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2023

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