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Eating habits, nutritional intake and nutritional status significantly influence the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases (cardio-vascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, gastro-intestinal diseases and cancer), in terms of both prevention and development. Since healthy or unhealthy eating habits are acquired early in life and have long-term effects on our health, they must already receive sufficient attention in childhood and must be promoted and maintained in every period of life.

Eating habits in Slovenia

Various studies investigating eating habits in the Republic of Slovenia show that the average nutrition of Slovenian population is unhealthy.

 The number of daily meals is insufficient (3-5 meals are recommended: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner) and the average eating rhythm is not appropriate. One should start the day with breakfast in order to receive the necessary energy for the beginning of the day. An interval of approximately four hours between meals should be observed, and dinner should be at least two hours before sleep. Considering the predominantly sedentary lifestyle, the energy value of the average meal is too high, since too much simple sugars and fats are being ingested, particularly in saturated form, which significantly affects the incidence of cardio-vascular disease and colorectal cancer. Our diet lacks fish, fruit, and particularly vegetable and dietary fibres, which are important protective dietary factors against chronic non-communicable diseases.

The unhealthy level of salt intake is also of concern, since the acceptable values (5 g of salt per day) are exceeded by more than 150%.

According to the national survey ‘Health-related lifestyle’ conducted in 2004, 2008 and 2012 (data not published yet), only 30% of the population in the Republic of Slovenia eat healthily or mostly healthily.
Most unhealthy eating and generally unhealthy lifestyle and resulting early forms of chronic non-communicable diseases can be observed among the poor and those with a lower education.

The worrying findings of surveys of Slovenians’ eating habits influenced the formation and passing of a nutritional policy in 2005, the measures and activities of which were clearly directed at improving eating habits and the population’s health.
The Resolution on the National Programme of Nutrition Policy for 2005 - 2010 passed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, has the fundamental goal of ensuring healthy food throughout the food chain, establishing, maintaining and enhancing healthy eating habits of the population of the Republic of Slovenia, and the sustainable provision of a sufficient supply to the population of high-quality and health-beneficial food.