Are the eating habits of university students different to the rest of the Spanish population? Food availability, consumption and cost

Elisa Amo, Francisco Escribano, María-José García-Meseguer, Isabel Pardo


Knowledge of the eating habits of young people is highly relevant to understand the demand for food. The objectives of this paper are to identify and analyze the eating habits of a section of young people in relation to the food habits of the rest of the Spanish population, to evaluate the influence of food prices on eating habits and the relevance of those food products related to the Mediterranean diet. The three food surveys used in this study were the Food Balance Sheet (FBS), designed by the FAO, the Household Budget Survey (HBS), designed by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics and an individual survey given to enrolled students at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. The cross-sectional study which was carried out allowed us to discover the cost of food and the consumption habits of a section of young people. A change in food availability and consumption was identified between 2009 and 2012. The average availability per capita and day for food expenditure was €6.19, while the average consumption in the two surveys was €4. The average food availability was 125.58 g per capita and day with an average price of 0.0022 €/g. The behavior of these university students is different from that of the rest of the population. Fruits, legumes, vegetables and greens are the cheapest groups of food; however, the consumption of these food groups is the lowest whereas meat is one of the more expensive groups and is consumed in greater quantities by students. These results are relevant in order to encourage the dietary habits of young people towards the products included in the Mediterranean diet.


food surveys; availability; consumption; cost; young people and healthy eating patterns

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016142-7974