Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences

Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9600


The Eating Habits of School Children from the Longevity Blue Zone of Sardinia: a Positive Model

Pes GM, Tolu F, Poulain M, Canelada A, Errigo A and Dore MP

A healthy diet should balance caloric intake (quality calories) with a variety of foods poor in simple sugars, such as cereals and legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, fish, meat, and eggs prepared with culinary skills and minimally processed. This paper investigates the eating habits of school children of Villagrande, Italy, a rural village characterized by the remarkable longevity of its inhabitants, and makes a comparison with a sample of school children of the same age from an urban setting in the island. A specific questionnaire was used to collect demographic data, meals structure and composition, frequency of food consumption, and characteristic of the usual diet. The frequency of healthy eating habits, according to the current standards, was superior in the rural compared to the urban setting. The consumption of vegetables was higher in rural than in urban students (≥ once a week, 94% vs 54%, p<0.01) whereas for fruit and legumes the percentages were comparable (≥ once a week, 97% vs 94% and 79% vs 71%, respectively). Cheese, which is a typical product of Sardinia and mostly homemade, was consumed more than once a week in 86% of rural compared to 73% of urban school children. Fish consumption was consistently higher in the rural compared to the urban area (more than once a week 81% vs 65% (p<0.001). Alcoholic beverages were consumed in small quantities in both cohorts surveyed, while soft drinks to a greater extent among urban school children. The overall nutrition pattern observed in the rural village could be considered the result of persistent traditional household influence and may prove useful to prevent early onset of obesity if extended to a broader school children population, although the implementation of such observations may be the biggest challenge.