In a recent survey conducted by Barometr FOOD under the patronage of the European Commission, it was revealed that Czechs believe they have a healthy lifestyle, but the reality tells a different story. The survey found that Czechs consume less fruit and vegetables, have less frequent breakfasts than recommended, and astonishingly, every hundredth Czech drinks beer for breakfast. These habits indicate that Czechs still lag behind the European average regarding healthy eating.
According to Aneta Martišková, the international coordinator of the survey, Czechs face several factors that limit their ability to maintain a healthy diet, with the high cost and lack of time being the most prominent. Many Czechs allocate twenty to thirty percent of their income for food, and four out of five Czechs are concerned about the further increase in food prices.
The survey also highlighted that Czechs are motivated to eat healthily primarily for health reasons, followed by taste and variety. Although there has been a slight shift towards healthier eating compared to a survey conducted fifteen years ago, Czechs still prefer cold dinners, non-alcoholic beverages slowly replacing beer for lunch, and a reduced consumption of traditional Czech dumplings.
According to Tomáš Prouza, Vice President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, unhealthy eating habits have become a significant concern in the Czech Republic. The country falls significantly below the European average regarding healthy life expectancy, and diet plays a crucial role. Prouza emphasizes that seventy-five percent of the population struggles with being overweight and nineteen percent with obesity, which is even more alarming among children.
It is worth noting that addressing the issue of unhealthy eating habits is not a popular political topic. However, risky diet-related behavior contributes to approximately half of all deaths in the Czech Republic. Prouza points out that unhealthy eating has surpassed tobacco as a leading cause of premature death. While physical activity is beneficial, it cannot compensate for excessive overeating.
In addition to the impact on public health, the survey also shed light on the Czech population’s inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables. Forty-eight percent of respondents admitted not eating a single portion of fruits and vegetables daily, whereas the recommended intake is five to six portions or more.
Eliška Selinger from the National Institute of Public Health highlighted the prevalence of myths surrounding healthy eating. Many people mistakenly believe that vegetables are limited to salads, overlooking that well-prepared dishes like “svíčková” or tomato sauce also include vegetables. Selinger stressed the importance of educating children about healthy eating habits in schools, as it can have a ripple effect on their families.