Affiliations: [a] Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”, Via Perrone, 18, 28100 Novara, Italy | [b] Istituto di Scienze degli alimenti e della nutrizione, Facoltà di Agraria, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy. e-mail: [email protected]
| [c] Liceo Scientifico Classico Linguistico “Giolitti-Gandino”, Via Fratelli Carando 43, 12042 Bra, Cuneo, Italy
Abstract: The study involved 983 adolescents attending the first 2 years at high school (14–15 years) in Bra (Northern Italy). The research was aimed at studying the essentials of food habits of adolescents while in school, at home or away from home, their conditions and opinions about body weight, about sport practice and the satisfaction with their physical appearance. The involved students were given a questionnaire and anthropometric measurements were taken (weight and height). The percentage of underweight students was higher among female students than males (8.45 vs. 3.93 %), while boys tended to be overweight more than girls (8.05 vs. 4.02 %). The only obesity cases (n = 3) were found among boys. Female students attending the Professional Institute have a higher BMI than those at the Lyceum (21.97 vs. 21.03; P < 0.05). No significant differences in the BMI value have been found among male students attending different schools. The questionnaire results showed that almost half of the students do not have breakfast at home while they prefer coffee shops or vending machines. The BMI value of the students, who have breakfast at home is lower than that of the students, who almost never have breakfast (21.71 vs. 22.52; P < 0.05). 42 % of meals are not eaten together with the family, even if at home there is a person responsible for the preparation of meals. Sport is practiced by 58.5 % of males and 42.6 % of females in a competitive way and on a regular basis. 35 % of students are occasionally satisfied with their physical appearance; 13.3 % are never satisfied. A significant relationship can be found between the satisfying ratio and gender: 66.2 % of males are always or often satisfied, while 63.9 % of females are unsatisfied or poorly satisfied.