1 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Department of Midwifery, Reproductive Health Promotion Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Background: One of the most challenging issues in public health is childhood obesity in the 21st century. In Iran, the overall prevalence of overweight has increased and the total rate of obesity was estimated to be 12.3% (calculated as 6.5% for individuals less than 18 years).
Objectives: The present study aimed at determining the diet knowledge and diet behavior among students in Shiraz, Iran.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 2040 students in 8 selected public high schools in 2013 in Shiraz, Iran. Random sampling method with proportionate allocation to size was used. To collect data, a standardized pretested questionnaire was used. The data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results: Response rate was 97.1%. Most (52.1%) of the students were male. The mean age of the respondents was 13.02 ± 0.724 and ranged from 11 to 15 years. About 61.3% of the students did not notice the label of food calories, and 73.8% did not know that family history of obesity would increase the risk of obesity. Only 16.5% of the respondents ate vegetables 4 to 5 times a week, and 23.6% ate fresh fruit per week; but 64.2% drank soft drink more than 2 times a week, and 82.2% ate fast foods more than 2 times a week.
Conclusions: The findings revealed that student’s perception about diet knowledge and diet behavior was low. Thus, targeted education should be implemented to improve healthy lifestyle in this age group.