Sunday, 26. April 2015 - 19:04
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Some Croatian parents continue to believe in nutritional values of alcohol and give their first graders wine or beer often, recent research shows.
Some 7.2 per cent of first grade students drink alcohol more than six times a month, a fact that has shocked experts in Europe, says Vesna Juresa from Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb.
The data is not much better for eight graders – 29.9 per cent of boys and 11.8 per cent of girls drink alcohol more than six times a week.
The phenomenon that has shocked European counterparts comes from old customs that some Croatian parents continue to hold onto, says Juresa.
"It is a well-known fact that certain types of alcohol are considered food – that wine is good for blood and that the beer is food." Marketing still connects sports and alcohol, she warns.
In addition to unusual alcohol consumption, Croatian children have other habits that can lead to obesity. Some three per cent of 18-year-old boys weigh over 100 kilograms, while the same number of girls has more than 78.2 kilograms. One of the reasons is lack of exercise - only 30 per cent of primary school students walk at least half an hour every week.
Also some 30 per cent of children in all age groups eats less than three meals a day, while 17.8 per cent of first graders do not eat a single serving of fruit on a daily basis. Many also eat three servings of fast food a week.
Another common habit that can lead to obesity and is prominent amongst Croatian youth is too much time spent in front of TV and computer screens, Juresa warns.
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