We would like to learn more about the dietary habits and physical activities of our students by asking you a few survey questions. It has been developed so you can tell us what you do that may affect your health. We hope this information will help us to understand the issues related to students’ diet and health, and it will be used to make our project as effective as possible.
Survey shows that most of students (85%) from all countries are sporty and physically active. There are only some (15%) who don’t do any physical activities. Football is the prevailing sport activity for most of the students (47%) and basketball comes second in their preference (34%). The popularity of football can be attributed to it’s simply rules, it can be played everywhere and it has an unprecedented media presence all over the world.
Most of the students from all countries consume 3-5 meals per day. It is very good because it is recommended by the dieticians to have 3-5 meals a day. Of course there are students who have only one or two meals a day but they are not the majority. Students eat homemade food but in a persentage (70%) that raises a lot of concern. Although homemade food is healthier, cheaper and brings family together, seems that „pursuit” of everyday life has turned the preparation of food a luxury.
In our modern fast-paced lives, less time is dedicated to the preparation of meals. Consequently, the consumption of ready-made meals, such as ready-to-heat pre-packaged dishes available at grocery stores and fast-food restaurant items, has increased. However, in our research, just 12 % of the students reported the daily consumption of ready-made meals and less than a quarter of the total amount stated to consume them one to three times a week. This low intake could be related to the fact that students do not still live alone, which is a determinant factor for this eating habit.
Concerning fast food consumption, 35% of our students reported to eat this type of food one to three times a month. Although the frequency is low, we must make our students aware that this is a wrong habit which can result in becoming overweight and obese and also in developing diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. A positive finding, though, is that 35% of the students state to rarely consume fast food. Again, this evidences the fact that, no matter tasty this food is, they prefer to avoid it as they know its awful consequences.
Less than half of the students eat vegetables one to three times a day (44%) and a third one to three times a week. According to the recommendations of the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), at least five pieces of fruits and vegetables (400gr) should be eaten every day.
A third of the students eat sweets one to three times a week, and a quarter one to three times a day. These results seem underestimated according to what we see daily in our schools. Snacking, especially sweets, shouldn’t part of a healthy diet.
Our students prefer choosing water instead of unhealthy soft drink with high sugar content. 42 % of them drink water. Fruit juice is the second most consumed drink for them. (24 %) We can say that students know the benefits of drinking water.
80 % of students are aware of the fact that eating breakfast is important. Most of them (27%) choose continental breakfast and 25 % prefer choosing fruit with yoghurt and muesli/cereal. Unfortunately quite a high number of them don’t have breakfast at all. (20 %) We have to call more their attention of the importance of breakfast because a good breakfast fuels them up and gets ready for the day.
Out of the 750 people who answered the questionnaire, the 61% (460 students) snacks during the break at school. This means that almost 300 students don’t eat anything for the whole morning; it is quite a surprising result considering the amount of energy required by attending so many lessons during a school day.
A positive aspect that emerged from the survey is the consumption of fruit during the break for the majority of students (29%). The second major result is 23% with the choice of chocolate bars, while 62 students (the 14% of the total amount) have chips, which is a relevant and negative data at the same time given the high quantity of salt contained in this kind of snacks. The 17% of students choose to have biscuits, the remaining 76 people have other snacks.
Over half of the students point to the importance of breakfast as the crucial part of the day. However, 30 per cent of them choose lunch as the major meal. Only for a few of them an evening is the time of consuming the most important dish. It seems evident that a large number of teenagers (40%) still don’t notice the significant and nourishing role of breakfasts.
As far as the question on using salt is concerned, students’ answers were quite alarming. Surprisingly, only 18 % of them seem to understand the benefits from a low-salt diet and they don’t use salt. 54 % of teenagers usually add salt to their food and a significant number of 29 % of them always salt their dishes. It is strongly advised to raise students’ awareness of the alleged healt effects of salt.