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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


ALVES, Hayda Josiane  and  BOOG, Maria Cristina Faber. Food behavior in student residence halls: a setting for health promotion. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.2, pp.197-204. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To qualitatively describe food practices of students living in a residence hall. METHODS: A quantitative and qualitative study was carried out in a drawn sample of 100 university students living in a residence hall in the city of Campinas, Southeastern Brazil, in 2004. Students were interviewed using a questionnaire to collect 24-hour food recall information including open questions on shopping and intake practices. Criteria were established for the analysis of meal quality. The Chi-square and the exact Fisher test were used at a 5% significance level. Representations based on Moscivici's theory of social representations were obtained in the interviews and analyzed. RESULTS:Assessment of 24-hour food recall: breakfast - 30% of the students skipped it, 13% had full, 37% had standard and 20% had partial meal; lunch - 5% skipped, 72% had full, and 23% had partial meal; dinner - 1% skipped, 36% had full, and 63% had partial meal. Lunch was the best quality meal and of those who had lunch, 63% had it at the university cafeteria. Of all respondents, 48% had no fruit and 39% had no milk. Most (69%) showed an individual food behavior and 43% thought that having meals together had a positive impact on their food behavior. The experience of becoming the provider of their own food changes the students' food behaviors and representations. CONCLUSIONS: Diet quality, patterns of commensality and social representations of food provide input for developing healthy diet care and health promotion.

Keywords : Students; Feeding behavior; Food habits; Food and nutrition education; Health promotion.

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