Introduction and objective:
Primary school pupils aged 10–12 years constitute an interesting consumer group due to their greater autonomy in the area of nutrition, compared to the younger group of children, among other things, due to their ‘pocket money’ and the greater influence of their peer group. However, this is an age group at high risk of inadequate nutrition, eating disorders, including those related to obesity and underweight. Hence, the aim of the study was to explore the attitudes of pupils aged 10–12 years towards food and nutrition.

Material and methods:
A qualitative study was conducted using the Focus Group Interview (FGI) technique among 84 primary school pupils from different localities in Poland.

Pupils had moderate knowledge of food and nutrition but did not consistently apply this knowledge in practice. Four pupils’ profiles were identified, categorized as ‘engaged,’ ‘obedient,’ ‘rebels,’ and ‘indifferent,’ based on their level of involvement and awareness of proper nutrition. Lunch was the most regularly consumed meal, sometimes eaten twice a day (at school and at home), while first breakfast was skipped the most frequently, mainly because of lack of time and morning rush. Pupils accurately identified recommended and not recommended food products, but lacked an understanding of their importance for health. Pupils’ emotional state increased the consumption of salty snacks, sweets, and fast food, and to a lesser extent, seeds, vegetables, and fruit. Pupils reported engaging in moderate physical activity, although they also spent a significant amount of time on the internet or watching TV.

Primary school pupils aged 10–12 years represented a relatively good level of knowledge about adequate nutrition; nevertheless, they did not follow these recommendations in practice.

The study was financially supported by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science (MEiN/2022/DPI/96 of 7 March 2022). The task entitled ‘Conducting scientific research in the field of nutrition of children and adolescents, developing and implementing a nutritional education program for pupils of grades 1–6 in primary schools. Acronym: Junior-Edu-Żywienie (JEŻ)’.
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