4th Lyceum of Galatsi engages in the Erasmus program entitled: “Ready, Steady…Life. A healthy Lifestyle Programme”. The aim of the program is to study the habits of diet and exercise in adolescents, the reflection and the creation of proper standards to the teenagers of the participant countries: Hungary, France, Spain, Italy, Latvia and Poland. Within the project we conducted a survey researching the eating habits of Greek students. The questionnaire was common in all six countries. In our school 108 students took part, answering to the 57 questions.
The research results showed that Greek students:
- Don’t eat breakfast: Students don’t acknowledge the need of breakfast as a source of energy claiming the lack of time and the parents’ professional occupation.
- In the school-breaks: 40% of students prefer to consume sweets as they are a joyful choice for teenagers and at the same time a source of energy. Moreover, as individuals, they get affected by consumerism models which present sweets as an excessively attractive choice. Furthermore, 10% of students state that they have the tendency to consume fruit during school breaks, as they bring them from their home that can easily be consumed, and they constitute a good source of energy and of course a cheap choice.
- Homemade food-Junk at home: The percentage that shows us the amount of students who consume homemade food on a daily basis (90%) indicates the meaning of family. It is a result that points out that Modern Greek family cares about cooked food even though they have a lot of obligations. Furthermore, comparing this result with the one about students who order junk food at home, we understand that homemade food overcomes junk food because it is considered to be a healthier and cheaper choice.
- Fruit-Vegetables at home: In Greece, a country that is affected by the Mediterranean diet, the consumption of fruit and vegetables in our everyday diet is prevailed. Furthermore, as an agricultural country with temperate climate we have the luxury of a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. To sum up, fruit and vegetables don’t necessary need preparation and they constitute a basic product for every Greek home.
- Drink when thirsty: This result (almost 80% drink mineral water instead of soft drinks) comes from the fact that Greece is a country which has a good quality of water that is drinkable almost everywhere and in the market it is offered for free or at a very cheap price.
- Sweets: although 72% state that eat sweets rarely, It is a result which, as students, we controvert it because students don’t know what food consists of and what kind of food belongs to this category. However, by stating that students abstain from candies, it indicates that they acknowledge the repercussions which are caused by sweets. On the other hand, 30% of students consume sweets on a daily basis, when they are outdoors, or during school breaks. This happens because sweets contain sugar which is an ingredient that causes addiction. A sociological definition which is worth seeing is that people have subconsciously combined sweets with happy moments.
- Fast food- Preferences out: This preference of teenagers (90%) indicates that souvlaki has prevailed in Greek tradition as a nutritional custom in our country. Furthermore, it is a cheap, appealing and easy choice as it is a meal which can easily be consumed. Summing up, it constitutes a healthy meal in condition when it is cooked correctly.
- Exercise: This percentage leads us to the result that teenagers are influenced by social models with a good appearance that have been created mostly by the media. Furthermore, it is significant to state the pressure coming from parents who want their children to have a good appearance. To sum up, through exercise teenagers abstain from habits and influences that affect their physical condition and of course their health.
Conclusions: Greek students eat fatty food, they have a low level on nutrition knowledge and they don’t care about food labels, although gender differences exist as girls seem to avoid certain food because of their concern for weight and health. Family plays a crucial role on eating habits, but tailored education should be implemented as well.