• France's news in English

French youths have good food info and bad habits

Ann Törnkvist · 7 Jun 2013, 10:39

Published: 07 Jun 2013 10:39 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French citizens in their teens and twenties may be well informed about the dietary guidelines issued by the National Programme for Nutrition and Health, but they are less likely to put their mouth where their brain is, says a report published this week.

Statistics compiled for 2011, and revealed this week, show that while only 57 percent of people in their sixties and seventies knew that one should eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a week, one in four French citizens aged 61-75 actually manage to fill their daily quota.

On paper, their younger peers were far more clued -in to the five-a-day guidelines.

As many as 71 percent said they were aware of the guideline, but only six percent actually managed to fill their plates up with the right amounts of fruit and veg. 

The eating-habit divide between generations was also visible when it came to eating fish.

About 82 percent of the older generation knew what was recommended for fish consumption, while 69 percent of the younger generation were aware of this guideline.

The French are recommended to have two portions of fish in their weekly diet, and 60 percent of seniors implement that advice. 

Only 38 percent, however, of those aged between 12 and 30 did the same. 

The only thing the young appeared to be better at was making sure they ate enough dairy products.

Among those younger than 20, an average French person was getting 2.32 portions of dairy every day - whether through cheese, milk or youghurt.

By contrast, their older compatriots averaged about 2.14 daily. 

It's not the first time the French have raised a red flag when it comes to shifts in eating habits, in a country that prides itself on its culinary heritage.

In July 2012 The Local reported how France almost topped the list of European countries who had taken to heart a US import - the burger.

The average French person is now eating 14 burgers per person per year, almost reaching the burger-munching heights of the Brits, who manage to get 17 of them down the hatch every year, according to a comparative study from the market research firm NPD. 

Story continues below…

In March, The Local reported that junk food had also moved from fast food chains into school canteens, especially at primary and secondary level.

“Junk food has installed itself in primary and secondary schools, and is developing,” said a statement from consumer group UFC-Que Choisir (UFC What to choose) 

In light of the fact that 18 percent of French children are obese or overweight, the organization said it was “a disturbing discovery” to find that school cafeterias were increasingly offering pizza, waffles and fizzy drinks next to traditional lunch items.

The organization also looked at the lunch menus of 600 school cafeterias around France, looking for a balance between seven different types of food; raw vegetables, desserts containing raw fruit, cooked vegetables, starchy foods, dairy products, red meat (not minced), and fish.

In 48 of the 600 schools traditional canteens were found to be competing with rival stalls offering fast-food.

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available