Original Articles

Eating Episode Frequency and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Italian University Students


Objective: To analyze breakfast consumption, regularity of meals, fruit and vegetable consumption in the Italian University Student population on a national level.

Design: Descriptive analysis evaluating data taken from the “Sportello Salute Giovani” questionnaire.

Participants: 12.000 university students who self-administered a confidential survey. 8292 questionnaires were analyzed.

Variables measured: Age; sex; self-reported economic status; BMI; number of breakfast and portions of vegetables and portions of fruit usually consumed per week; number of eating episodes per day; intended weight loss.

Analysis: Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Gender and age differences were tested by Chi2 and Mann-Whitney tests.

Results: 15.8% of males and 26.3% of females declared to consume at least one portion of fruit every day. Similar results were found for vegetable consumption. Age does not influence fruit or vegetables consumption, frequency of eating episodes or breakfast habit. Both a regular breakfast and a higher number of eating episodes are significantly associated both with a higher frequency of fruit and vegetables intake.

Conclusions and implications: This study underlines the need to promote nutritional education campaigns to increase adherence to nutritional guidelines.


Nutrition assessments; habits; students; Italy

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