ADOLESCENTS’ NEEDS TOWARDS SCHOOL-BASED NUTRITION INTERVENTIONS
Background and Aims: This study aimed to identify adolescents’ knowledge and attitudes towards healthy eating and their needs and preferences towards school-based nutrition interventions, thus investigating the “must have” components on school-based nutrition interventions than can improve adolescents’ dietary patterns. Material and Methods: To reach the proposed aims, we used a qualitative strategy of inquiry, by conducting semi- structured focus groups. We collected data in two urban schools from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 32 adolescents aged 11 to 14 years old attended focus group discussions. Focus group discussions were audio-taped, transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: A viable strategy to deliver effective nutrition interventions for adolescents needs to address adolescents' interests and concerns, use visuals and stories to present nutrition related information, increase adolescents' self-efficacy in choosing healthy foods, train adolescents in having a balanced diet, promote healthy eating as acceptable for peers, and involve parents in nutrition interventions through home-based activities. Conclusions: Improving adolescents' nutrition related knowledge and behavior and creating supportive environments is not sufficient in improving adolescents' dietary patterns. Practitioners should aim at designing school-based nutrition interventions addressing adolescents' specific needs and rely on the needs assessment process as a major component of the design.