Sousa, A.C.C., Simões, E., Félix, S. & Pires, A.M. (2017) Clear snack concept for better snack choices – an assessment contribution. International Journal of Public Health Research, 5(6), 70-77.
Eating between meals lost the reputation of being a bad habit and began to be a healthy practice that keeps metabolism up and sustain energy. However, currently, the concept of snack is associated with frequency and amount but not with food nutritional value. Unhealthy and low nutritional or high nutrient content and fibers quality food are both considered snacks. This fact associated with the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes, impose a question “to snack or not to snack: are we doing the right choice?”. The Portuguese reality was studied in order to draw attention to the benefits/risk of snacking behavior. An evaluation survey has been carried out based on snacking knowledge and behavior. It has been targeted at Portuguese people over 18. Data were statistically analyzed and association between variables was measured. Survey was answered by 704 people being 681 data validated; 79.1% female and 20.9% male. Sex differences were found for snack definition, while women associated it with timing and amount, men associated it with satiety. Regarding snacking behavior the majority of women opted for snacking whereas men preferred not to do it. An optimistic result was that snacking people are those who identified better and healthy snack options revealing a high nutritional literacy. In order to reach systematic information dissemination as a form of publicizing snacking good practices, it is mandatory to clarify snack definition. It was also possible to infer the need to include vegetables as a healthy option for a break between meals. Therefore, we believe that the findings of this survey have great public health importance not only for Portugal, but also for the benefit of those who have a busy lifestyle.