Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2012; 1(1):(1-318)


Nutritional habits in a primary school children: generational and gender differences

Maria Luisa E. Luisi, Raffaele Molino Lova, Luisa Bertulli, Francesco Sofi, Angelo Pietrobelli, Rosanna Intini, Claudio Macchi, Barbara Biffi, GianFranco Gensini

Abstract
The role of healthy diet as an effective tool to prevent chronic diseases is well established. Recently, most of the attention has been paid to food education since childhood. Aim of the present study was to evaluate generational and gender differences in perceiving the importance of healthy diet in a sample of subjects ranging from children to their grandparents. We studied 226 subjects, 74 children attending a primary school, 82 parents and 70 grandparents. Children received the Food Frequency Questionnaire and two “ad hoc” questionnaires, the former about general principles of food education and the latter about perception of the importance of healthy diet and the personal engagement to pursue it, while parents and grandparents received only this latter questionnaire. Both boys and girls reported to have little information on the different types of fats and which fats are harmful for their health. With regard to females, mothers’ engagement to pursue a healthy diet was significantly higher than that of grandmothers, while girls’ engagement did not exceed the already high engagement of their mothers. Regarding males, the engagement followed a similar increase across generations, without significant differences. However, despite different courses, no significant gender difference was detected within the new generation. This finding seems to be of extreme importance for all the professionals involved in food educational programs for childhood.
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