Rampello T.

Life styles and eating habits: a pilot survey and an educational proposal

Rivista : Anno 44/Numero 3
Autori/Authors : Rampello T. Cinque M.

The purpose of our research was to analyse the eating habits and lifestyles of a sample of about two hundred children in primary school. We carried out a survey in two primary schools belonging to the same institution (Istituto “Marta Russo” di Trigoria, Roma). The research involved the collection of quantitative and qualitative data through a multipurpose, anonymous questionnaire that was administered to 215 children (in the 6-12 age range).
The analysis of the results was performed using a technique of unsupervised feature selection for Principal Components Analysis (PCA). The first step of the analysis consisted in calculating the frequencies of qualitative and quantitative variables, using the measures of central tendency (mean, median for quantitative data and mode for qualitative data) and variability (standard deviation).
Weight and height were measured to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI). The majority of children (55%) were normal weight, while 13% were underweight and the remaining 32% were overweight and obese. They practice an average of 3 hours (3.27) of sports in a week. As far as nutrition habits are concerned, 48 of 215 respondents (22.3%) declared that they don’t have breakfast once or more times in a week; 73 (33.9%) are not used to have a snack for mid-morning and 60 (27.9%) in the afternoon. In conclusion, the results of data analysis demonstrate that children need to be encouraged to develop healthy eating habits,through appropriate food education projects that might help them change their behaviours and lifestyles.

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