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Studying eating habits can aid in the design of specific measures that reduce the negative effects of an unhealthy diet on health. In this context, the aim of the present study was to examine the eating habits and food preferences of students and their level of satisfaction with the catering services of the university.
Survey conducted during 2011 using a questionnaire that asked participants abut their sex, age and frequency of use of catering services placed on campus. Participants were also asked about their level of satisfaction with five aspects (hygiene, quality, taste of food, price and convenience of facilities) of the university catering services, what their preferred dishes were and whether they followed a special diet.
Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
Nine hundred and sixty-four students (381 males; 583 females).
The students used the university food service 2·3 (sd 1·3) times/week. With respect to satisfaction level, 44·1 % gave an average score (3) to the combination of surveyed aspects (hygiene, quality, taste of food, price and comfort of the dining rooms). Regarding food choices, 61·0 % of students preferred pasta dishes, followed by meat (59·1 %) and salads (32·5 %). The least popular dishes were vegetables (16·8 %), fruits (13·6 %), milk products (12·2 %) and legumes (9·8 %). Of the students, 20·1 % followed special diets.
The degree of satisfaction with the university meal service was low and the most common choices of dishes and foods among students were far from the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet. It is necessary to extend policies related to diet to this sector of the population and also to the management and food offer of university canteens.
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