Biscuits, chocolates or sweets are the preferred breakfast choice for the Maltese followed by processed meats and cereal, an eating habit survey has shown.

The results of Malta’s first Food Consumption Survey show some people even eat pasta and rice for breakfast while pasta is the most popular food at both lunch and dinner time followed by chicken and beef, respectively.

The study, based on the five-day eating diary kept by 1,000 people between the ages of 19 and 65, would provide information that would help policy makers address unhealthy eating habits, the Parliamentary Secretary for Consumers Chris Said explained at the launch of the findings.

A European health survey published last week showed Malta had the highest proportion of obesity among men in the EU and the third highest among women.

About 58 per cent of adults were obese or overweight: 22 per cent were obese and had a body mass index over 30 and 36 per cent were overweight and had a BMI over 25. The BMI is the calculation of weight in relation to height. A person of normal weight would have a BMI ranging between 18 and 25.

The food consumption survey showed that sweets, chocolates or biscuits were also the most popular choice for morning and afternoon snacks.

Most people ate about a quarter of a cup of vegetables during lunch and slightly more for dinner.

When it came to daily fruit consumption, most people ate about a quarter of a fruit for lunch and slightly less for dinner. Asked if they grew any fruit or vegetables at home, Gozitans fared best with 18 per cent cultivating their own crops.

Turning to beverages, warm drinks such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate were the most popular during breakfast and as morning and afternoon snacks. However, one must note the research was carried out between January and May last year.

Bottled water took over as the most common drink during lunch time, followed by soft drinks and warm drinks.

The study shows the average Maltese man is 1.7 metres tall and weighs 81 kilos while women’s average height is 1.5 metres and weight 68 kilos.

Being overweight was linked to age, with the average person gaining about 200 grammes a year, the study showed.

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