Do young adults value sustainable diet practices? Continuity in values from adolescence to adulthood and linkages to dietary behaviour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To describe continuity over time in reports of valuing sustainable diet practices and investigate relationships between values, household meal behaviours and dietary intake.Design: Observational study. Participant ratings of how important it is for food to be produced as organic, not processed, locally grown and not GM were categorized to represent whether they valued (very/somewhat important) or did not value (a little/not at all important) each practice. Diet quality markers (e.g. fruit servings) were based on an FFQ.Setting: Mailed and online surveys.Participants: Young adults (n 1620; 58 % female, mean age 31 (sd 1·6) years) who were participating in Project EAT (Eating and Activity among Teens and Young Adults) and responded to follow-up surveys in 2003-2004 and 2015-2016.Results: One-third (36·1 %) of participants reported valuing <2 practices at both assessments; 11·1 and 34·5 % respectively reported valuing ≥2 practices in 2003-2004 only and in 2015-2016 only; 18·3 % reported valuing ≥2 practices at both assessments. Regression models including demographics, parental status and vegetarian status showed that valuing ≥2 practices was associated with preparation of meals with vegetables at least a few times/week, less frequent purchase of family meals from fast-food restaurants, and higher diet quality in 2015-2016. For example, those who valued ≥2 practices consumed nearly one full vegetable serving more than other young adults on an average day and part of this difference was specifically associated with intake of dark green and red/orange vegetables.Conclusions: Addressing the sustainability of food choices as part of public health messaging may be relevant for many young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2598-2608
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019



  • Adolescence
  • Dietary intake
  • Family meals
  • Fast-food restaurants
  • Sustainable diet
  • Young adults

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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