Eating habits among Italian university students

Maria Luisa Di Pietro, Gualtiero Ricciardi, Adele Anna Teleman, Daniele Ignazio La Milia, Andrea Poscia, Flavia Adalgisa Distefano, Paolo Parente, Emanuela Maria Frisicale, Franziska Lohmeyer, Chiara De Waure, Valentina Soffiani

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Background A sufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables has proven to have an important protective effect towards different diseases and mortality. Nevertheless, some studies reported insufficient daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. Aim of the study is to analyse breakfast consumption, regularity of meals, and fruit and vegetable consumption in the Italian University Student population. Methods The study evaluates data taken from the ‘‘Sportello Salute Giovani’’ questionnaire, based on the ‘‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children’’ (HBSC) questionnaire. The data regarding age, sex, BMI, number of breakfasts consumed per week, number of eating episodes per day, number of portions of vegetables consumed, number of portions of fruit consumed, intended weight loss, self-reported economic status was analyzed. A descriptive analysis was conducted. Gender and age differences are tested by Chi2 test and Mann-Whitney test. 162 European Journal of Public Health, Vol. 25, Supplement 3, 2015 Logistic regression analyses were used to study the association between eating episodes and fruit and vegetable consumption. Results 8.292 questionnaires were analyzed. 67% of responders were female and 33% were male. Results show that only 15,8% of males and 26,3% of the females declared to consume at least one portion of fruit every day (p < 0.01) and similar results were found for vegetable consumption. Age does not influence fruit or vegetables consumption, frequency of eating episodes or breakfast habit. Both a regular breakfast and a higher number of eating episodes are significantly associated with a higher frequency of fruit intake (OR = 2.19 and 1.83, respectively) and a higher frequency of vegetables intake (OR = 2.08 and 1.69, respectively). Conclusions This study underlines the need to promote nutritional education campaigns to increase adherence to nutritional guidelines. Promoting the consumption of breakfast and of the recommended 5 daily eating episodes may prove to be useful in obtaining a greater consumption of fruit and vegetables. Key message It is necessary to create practical strategies in universities that can facilitate the regularity of breakfast, frequent food intake, and fruit and vegetable consumption
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-162
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event8th European Public Health Conference - Milano
Duration: 14 Oct 201517 Oct 2015


  • Eating habits
  • University students


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