Objective. The aim is to describe dietary habits and their association with socio-demographic
characteristics in a large nationally representative sample of Italian adolescents
aged 11, 13 and 15 years.
Materials and methods. Data from the 2018 Italian Health Behaviour in School-aged
Children (HBSC) survey on 58,976 adolescents were analysed to determine eating habits.
Logistic regression was used to investigate the association between incorrect dietary
habits and potential predictors.
Results. 38.3% of boys and 48.1% of girls skipped breakfast and 54.1% did not consume
fruit and/or vegetables daily. 15.9% of boys and 11.3% of girls drank carbonated-sugary
beverages at least once a day. Incorrect dietary habits were more common among boys,
adolescents with lower socio-economic conditions, residents in Southern Italy and those
spending more time watching TV. Italian adolescents were more likely to have incorrect
dietary habits compared with those from most other countries involved in 2018 HBSC.
Conclusions. Action is needed to improve dietary habits among adolescents.