A Retrospective Study on Changes in Food Preferences of Japanese High School Students from Childhood to the Present Day

  •  Tomoko Osera    
  •  Mitsuyo Awai    
  •  Setsuko Tsutie    
  •  Misako Kobayashi    
  •  Nobutaka Kurihara    


Background: To conduct a retrospective study for investigating changes in food preferences of high school students from childhood to the present day.Methods: The study included 1,300 students aged 16–18 years who responded to a questionnaire regarding food items that they disliked at present and in their childhood; they selected a list of 55 foods and responded to 35 questions regarding their food habits. The distribution was categorized into four patterns of food preferences based on whether a particular student had disliked a particular food item during childhood (+) and during high school at present (+). Food preference at present was examined for all other items using logistic regression analysis after adjusting for gender and age. Results: In total, 66.9% of the subjects reported (+) to (+), 12.5% reported (+) to (−), 6.5% reported (−) to (+), and 14.1% reported (−) to (−). Even in the (+) to (+) group, a significant decrease was observed in the number of disliked foods from childhood (5.5 ± 5.4) to the present day (4.2 ± 4.1) (P < 0.001, ANOVA). No dislike for any food item at present was related to no dislike for any food item during childhood [odds ratio (OR), 12.57; 95% confidence interval (CI), 8.3–19.1]] and talking positively about food (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.11–1.49) but inversely related to the limited use of smartphone while eating (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75–0.98). Conclusion: Decreasing the dislike for foods at present as well as no dislike for any food item during childhood may be crucial for developing future good food habits in high school students. In addition, to improve current food preferences, students may need to eat together.

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