INTRODUCTION: Dietary habits have been indicated by research as key elements in both disease pathogenesis and prevention and health promotion. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed data collected from Italian university students regarding consumption of fruits, vegetables, fast-foods, sweets, energizing drinks, and coffee, average number of eating episodes per day and regularity of breakfast habits. RESULTS: 44% of the university student population eats in average at least 1 portion of fruit per day. 22.5% eats at least 2 portions of vegetables per day. 8.5% eats in average 5 times per day with 48.6% declaring an average of 3 eating episodes per day. 11.3% consumes eccessive amounts of caffeine. 49.1% of the females reaches the recommended consumption of fruit, compared to only 33.8% of males (p < 0.05). 27.7% of females eats at least 2 portions of vegetables per day, compared to 12.0% of males (p < 0.05). Eccessive coffee drinkers pass from 8.9% in the 18-21 age group to 16% in the 25-30 year old age group (p < 0.05). DISCUSSION: This study showed that the eating habits of young adults do not follow national recommendations. Less than 50% of university students eats at least 1 portion of fruit per day and less than 1 out of 4 eats at least 2 portions of vegetables per day. Less than 10% of the students eats in average 5 times per day and more than 1 out of 3 does not have breakfast regularly every morning. CONCLUSION: Interventions targeting university students are required in order to increase their knowledge on healthy eating habits and to ameliorate their dietary behaviours.
- Nutritional habits
- University students