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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jan;51(1):46-53.

Eating habits, food and health related attitudes and beliefs reported by French students.

Author information

1
Nutrition Department, INSERM U286, Faculté X. Bichat, Paris, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess eating habits and some food related behaviours, beliefs and knowledge in educated young French adults.

DESIGN:

A standardized questionnaire administered in university classes.

SETTING:

University or 'Grandes Ecoles' of Paris and Dijon.

SUBJECTS:

660 male and female French students.

INTERVENTIONS:

International survey; questionnaire composed of three major sections: (1) Health-related attitudes such as substances used, dieting, health practices; (2) Beliefs concerning behaviour and health, including eating habits; (3) Knowledge, namely relevance of factors to diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases.

RESULTS:

Gender, self-perception of body size, BMI and attempts to lose weight affected a number of behaviours. Average BMI corresponded to standard values. 'Healthy' behaviours were often reported such as: avoiding fat and cholesterol, efforts to eat fruit and fiber. The French students showed a low frequency of snacking and a high regularity in having breakfast, especially respondents with lower BMI (females < or = 23 and males < or = 24.5 kg/m2). Beliefs about the importance of behaviours were closely associated with the performance of the behaviours. Awareness of the role of eating factors in cardiovascular diseases was observed.

CONCLUSION:

The meal and snack pattern in French students is very close to the traditional model. More food- and health-related behaviours and attitudes are reported by women than men. Some of them could be due to a genuine motivation for prevention and health in females or else to a greater wish to be thin. 'Desire to lose weight' is often reported although BMI values are normally low in this young population. Beliefs in the importance of a behaviour for health are correlated with the reported performance of the behaviours.

PMID:
9023467
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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