The results, presented at an online event hosted on Wednesday February 16, 2022 by the Institute of Public Health and the Center of Excellence in Nutrition, Tourism and Leisure, American College of Greece, were indicative of Greek dietary habits.
Is the Greek diet balanced? Are they interested in what we call “healthy eating” or are they skeptical and indifferent? Do they eat more or less than they should? Do they take into account global recommendations?
These questions were answered by Mr. Athanasios Crystallis (PhD, Executive Director of the Center of Excellence in Food, Tourism and Leisure, An. Prof., American College of Greece) and presented to the audience the results of a consumer survey conducted at the end of November 2021 with an audience from 510 participants (men and women over 18 across the country). The survey focused on how Greeks perceive the importance of healthy eating in their lives.
Every second inhabitant of Greece is overweight. Three out of ten suffer from chronic diet-related diseases. One in four is a smoker. Eight out of ten eat any food without restriction. One in ten adheres to the Mediterranean diet (although in practice there are more of them, they just do not know this term). Two out of ten drink one drink of alcohol a day.
A high level of consumption of such products as:
olive oil, fruits, vegetables.
Unfortunately, along with these healthy choices, the study also found high consumption of red meat, sweets, soft drinks, and prepared snacks. “Therefore, the Greek diet today is a mixture, a hybrid of the classic ingredients of the Mediterranean diet and fast food,” the speaker noted.
In a word, the Greeks pay moderate attention to healthy eating. This reflects their general rather neglectful attitude towards their health and a small degree of concern for it.
34% of survey participants answered: “I eat what I like and don’t worry about it.” Three out of ten said that health is determined by fate (!), and four out of ten said that they had very few opportunities to prevent illness. It seems, says Mr. Crystallis, that “almost nothing can persuade us to change our eating habits.”
According to the results of the study, several different typologies of Greek consumers were identified in terms of their attitude towards healthy eating:
From supporters to fanatics 38%. From indifferent to negative 43%. Skeptical and undecided 19%.
If fanatics believe that healthy eating is a one-way street, then indifferent think that “it is not necessary to bother about this at all”, and skeptics and undecided have the conviction that they do not have enough choice and that healthy eating is expensive .
The main reason why a person switches to a healthy diet is a high interest in their health. However, according to Mr. Crystallis, the majority, although they do not lack knowledge about the value of food, exhibit a narrow-mindedness that even serious medical indications cannot shake.