Korean J Community Nutr.  2019 Oct;24(5):384-394. 10.5720/kjcn.2019.24.5.384.

Relationship between Dietary Behaviors and Life Stress of Middle School Students in Gyeonggi Area

  • 1Department of Food Service and Nutrition, Kaya University, Gimhae 50830, Korea, Professor.
  • 2Lifelong Study Center, Anyang 14048, Korea, Lecturer.
  • 3Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, Yongin 17058, Korea, Professor. khsong@mju.ac.kr


The study was performed to examine the dietary behaviors and life stress of middle school students in the Gyeonggi area.
A total of 580 middle school students (295males, 285 females) in the Gyeonggi area participated in the study between July and August in 2011. The study was a questionnaire-based survey that included dietary habits, dietary behaviors, and life stress.
For dietary habits, the score for drinking milk was higher in male students than in female students, whereas the score for eating fruits was higher in female students compared to male students. There were significant differences in foods eaten and preferred under stress between male and female students. Male students showed significantly less changes in the number of meals, amount of meal intake, number of snacks, snack intake, frequency of overeating, and appetite during stress than female students. Life stress score of students largely came from academic factors, and female students showed higher stress levels in personal and surrounding environment factors than male students. Life stress score was significantly lower in students with high and moderate levels of dietary habits than in students with a low level of dietary habits. Total score for dietary habits and scores for eating adequate amounts of foods for each meal, considering a combination of food groups at each meal and eating green and orange vegetables, were significantly negatively correlated with life stress score. Life stress score was significantly negatively correlated with meal regularity and positively with the level of overeating.
This study may provide basic information on dietary habits and life stress according to gender and the relationship between dietary behaviors and life stress of middle school students, and it suggests gender-based nutrition education programs to solve undesirable dietary habits and dietary behaviors in students with higher stress.


dietary behavior; dietary habit; life stress; middle school student

MeSH Terms

Citrus sinensis
Food Habits
Stress, Psychological*


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