SOCIO-cultural influences play a part in causing obesity among young adolescents, a recent survey has revealed.
The results showed how consuming unhealthy foods and drinks at recess seemed to be more common in adolescents who skip breakfast.
Fiji National University researcher Jillian Wate said many youths had easy access to spending money which in turn allowed them to buy junk foods from their school canteens. Ms Wate said more iTaukei adolescents bought lunch from school canteens whereas a stronger tradition of home-prepared food was apparently common among Fijians of Indian descent whose mothers prepared their lunches and after school snacks.
She said the strong cultural sharing of both food and money at school highlighted the influence of peers in food choices.
Addressing the prevalence of obesity in the country, Ms Wate said females were more likely to share their food compared to males.
According to the researchers, the home preparation of food among Fijians of Indian descent, sharing of food and money among peers and amount of spending money given to adolescents are critical socio-cultural influences on outside home eating in Fiji's adolescents and needed to be incorporated into initiatives to improve the healthiness of children's eating patterns.