Unhealthy eating habits and participation in organized leisure-time activities in Czech adolescents


A healthy lifestyle habits in adolescents consist of healthy eating patterns and active ways of spending leisure time. This study aimed to examine the relationship between organized leisure-time activities (OLTA) and eating habits in adolescence. Data from the 2013/2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study on 10,494 Czech adolescents aged 11–15 years was used. The associations of participation in OLTA with ten specific eating habits were analyzed using logistic regression. Involvement in any type of OLTA was associated with higher consumption of daily breakfast, fruit, and vegetables and a lower intake of soft drinks. Participants in non-sport and sport and other activity reported lower rates of unhealthy eating habits (e.g., lower rates of eating crisps and eating in front of the TV or computer). Participation only in sport was related to more frequent eating at fast food restaurants but less frequent snacking in front of the computer and intake of crisps.

Conclusion: Participation in OLTA was associated with healthier eating habits (e.g., consumption of fruit and vegetables) and a lower occurrence of unhealthy eating habits (e.g., consumption of soft drinks). Alternatively, our findings indicate that non-participation in OLTA can serve as an indicator of an unhealthy lifestyle in adolescence.

What is Known
Unhealthy eating habits in youth tend to persist into adulthood and are related to adverse health consequences later in life.
The type of the leisure-time activity (participation in sport, non-sport, sport, and other activities) affects the strength of developmental outcomes in adolescents.
What is New
Youth participating in non-sport activity and sport and other activity concurrently reported lower rates of unhealthy eating habits (e.g., eating junk food, eating in front of the TV/computer).
Non-participation in OLTA could be viewed as a potential risk factor for an unhealthy lifestyle in adolescents.

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Family Affluence Scale


Health Behaviour in School-aged Children


Organized leisure-time activities


Positive Youth Development


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This work was supported by a research grant from the Czech Science Foundation under reg. no. 18-24977S, by an institutional grant of Palacký University Olomouc under reg. no. IGA_FTK_2017_009, and by the Research and Development Support Agency under Contract No. APVV-15-0012. The funders had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretations of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Author information




Jaroslava Voracova and Petr Badura designed the study, drafted the manuscript, carried out the initial analyses, and interpreted the data. Erik Sigmund, Zdenek Hamrik, and Jana Holubcikova revised the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

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Correspondence to Jaroslava Voráčová.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study design was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University, Olomouc. Participation in the study was voluntary and anonymous, with no incentives offered to the participants. Parents or legal guardians of the adolescents were notified of the study and its purpose by the school management in advance and could withdraw their child. Prior to administration of the questionnaires, the respondents were also notified of the option to opt out of the study or skip questions that made them uncomfortable.

Additional information

Revisions received: 28 May 2018 / 29 May 2018

Communicated by Mario Bianchetti

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Voráčová, J., Badura, P., Hamrik, Z. et al. Unhealthy eating habits and participation in organized leisure-time activities in Czech adolescents. Eur J Pediatr 177, 1505–1513 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-018-3206-y

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  • Eating habits
  • Organized leisure-time activities
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Adolescents
  • HBSC
  • Czech Republic