• Igor Spiroski Institute of Public Health – Skopje, R.N. Macedonia; Faculty of Medicine, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, R.N. Macedonia
  • Marina Nikolić European Food Safety Authority – Parma, Italy
  • Shaban Memeti Institute of Public Health – Skopje, R.N. Macedonia; Faculty of Medicine, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, R.N. Macedonia


eating habits, children, obesity, surveillance, health, noncommunicable diseases


In Europe, 29% of boys and 27% of girls aged seven to nine were overweight and 12% of boys and 9% of girls obese. Eating habits are important for understanding the obesity problem. The aim of this paper was to describe the eating behaviors of second grade children in North Macedonia (MKD).

A total of 3246 children were selected for data collection. Measurements of height and weight, as well as data for the eating habits was collected. Frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables, soft drinks, savory snacks, and sweet snacks as well as breakfast consumption was used to create eating habits score.

There were significantly more obese boys while more girls were overweight. Obesity was more prevalent in urban areas of the country. Majority of children practiced neither “healthy” nor “less healthy” nutrition behavior. Children whose parents has tertiary education had significantly lower score comparing to those whose parents have secondary or lower education. Dietary habits had not a significant impact on BMI. 75% of girls and 78% of boys had breakfast every day. 40% of children daily consumed fruit and 37% consumed vegetables. Consumption of soft drinks was significantly higher in boys.

Eating habits of children may shed light on root causes for obesity in MKD. There is much room for improvement in the intake of fruit and vegetables. Consumption of snacks and particularly soft drinks should be reduced. National obesity surveillance program that collects data and present evidence to policy makers is crucial and should be supported.


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