Analysis of eating habits with tenth-year students

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In the world “more than 900 million people show malnutrition and approximately 170 million children suffer from underweight” , as a result of not receiving adequate levels of essential nutrients to carry out their daily activities, which brings As a consequence, very serious deficiencies in the physical and mental development of the child, aspects that entail great socio-economic problems worldwide.

But talking about nutrition is not simply addressing the absence of food, as is the case in many countries, but is referring to the necessary nutrients that the body requires to fulfill all its physiological activities, which is why talking about food has always been a controversial topic. Read more at  throughout the history of the human being; while for some groups it is limited to being a conflict between choosing the tastiest from the least palatable, for others it has become a determining factor between life and death. The educational field does not escape this problem, since, on a daily basis, a contrast of students can be observed who can choose what to eat and where to do it, as a result of their purchasing power.

Nutrition is an issue that must be approached hand in hand with food. You can feed a person, but your nutritional needs are not necessarily being met. The student body is exposed every day to a myriad of nutritional resources that threaten their health, without these completely covering the guidelines to obtain pleasure in an adequate way.

In Costa Rica, the 2012 study program of the III cycle of Basic General Education, proposed by the Ministry of Public Education ( MEP, 2012), within its theoretical foundations, proposes, among other topics, as a transversal axis in the contents of Sciences that of “Education for health”. Although the transversal axes do not seem to be the most popular topics to be worked on within the science lessons, it is necessary to do this integration of the terms of health and pleasure in an adequate way. The student body probably does not perceive a great level of affectation in their health, due to their age, however, in later years it is possible to see the consequences of not having a solid training in terms of good eating habits. This is further evidenced by the obesity trend that has been occurring in childhood and youth for some years now and is commonly addressed in the different mass media.

It is necessary to make it clear that when talking about eating habits, the complete picture that leads the student to eat a certain meal must be observed. This is likely to be bombarded by a huge amount of advertising that prompts you to buy foods that are not the ones that the body will really thank you for in the medium and long term. Advertising itself may also prevent students from considering the existence and importance of a diet worthy of their health. In addition, the cultural context frames many of the youth’s affinities towards food. Much of the Costa Rican culture is based on the consumption of carbohydrates in its vast majority from the various forms of ingestion.

The objective of this work was to analyze the eating habits of the students of the Third Cycle of Basic General Education in a Technical College of the Regional Education of Pérez Zeledón, in order to diagnose the reality about the eating habits that they have in terms of what they consume daily.

Three main factors intervene in eating habits, for example, if it is approached from the genesis of the individual, it begins in the family nucleus, where it influences, to a great extent, that children and adolescents become aware of a good diet; On the other hand, there is the school or educational center, where good eating habits can be reinforced in the school environment through the transversality of the content. In Costa Rica, the sale of food in educational centers has been regulated to prevent poor nutritional intake of these and thus control inside the school that students do not eat so-called “junk” foods; On the other hand, the third influential in food intake is the mass media in the advertising exercised by agri-food companies, sometimes invasive and manipulative. For this reason, observable behaviors in adults are often reproduced in younger generations, since, to a large extent, food is derived from an ethnic tradition historically established between different food cultures.

Puberty and adolescence are characterized by important changes in the body, there is an increase in growth speed, changes in body composition, the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics and emotional and psychosocial maturation, their morphology and composition vary. Nutritional requirements depend on the expenditure necessary to maintain the growth rate, variations in body composition and energy consumption. Correct nutrition is one of the basic health needs so that the adolescent population can develop, to the maximum, its biological potential.

A health problem that is found in educational centers and that is related to eating practices are anorexia and bulimia. The RAE (2014 ) defines anorexia as a “syndrome of refusal to eat due to a mental state of fear of gaining weight, which can have serious pathological consequences” and bulimia as a “syndrome of compulsive desire to eat, causing vomiting and pathological consequences ”. For this reason, nutrition education must direct its campaigns, through effective techniques and methods, to rescue the population from bad food practices and contribute to the reduction of diseases.