Abstract

Aim: The objective of the study was to ascertain nutritional customs of pupils in grade schools. Material and Method: Anonymous questionnaires were done to a sample of 380 children, aged 10 to 14, in 20 fourth-to eight grade classes from 2 schools in Cluj-Napoca: one from down-town, the other one from a poorer neighbourhood. Results: Almost half of students revealed to have an irregular diet. In the last month, some of them did not have enough food or money to buy it (much of them come from the poorer neighbourhood). In this latest school, a triple percent of children have a vegetable diet (no meat, in fact). The obsession to lose weight and the irregular diet has conducted to lose appetite in over 30% of girls. About 60% take vitamins or nutritional supplements. Social status as well as the irregular diet is reflected in general status: over one third feel sad, alone, useless or cry without any reason. Some of the pupils which have problems with daily food supply, think the life is hard and do not worth to live it. Conclusions: There is a wide diversity in nutritional customs of children. Some of them are due to inappropriate nutritional knowledge or a wrong perception of being on fashion as well as to social status. Although the economic conditions are difficult to change, we consider that nutrition education should still be a part of health teaching.

Keywords

Food, Nutritional behaviour, Children, Health.