Dietary and lifestyle habits among university students at different academic years
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Background/aimsCollege serves as a transitionary period into adulthood where students begin making independent dietary and lifestyle choices and begin forming possibly detrimental habits. Such habits may persist into adulthood and negatively affect their long-term health and risk of disease. This study aimed at exploring the dietary and lifestyle habits among the Hashemite University students at different academic years. MethodsA cross-sectional design was used to study dietary and lifestyle habits as well as the occurrence of obesity among a convenient sample of undergraduate students at the Hashemite University during the academic year 2015–2016. Five hundred and forty students (184 males: 356 females) were enrolled in this study. Bodyweight and height were measured and body mass index was calculated. Personal information, dietary habits and physical activity data were collected using constructed questionnaires. ResultsAround 36% of the students were overweight and obese. The percentage of overweight among the freshmen was about 31% and 26.5% among the seniors. Additionally, 8.6% of freshmen and 16.3% of seniors were found to be obese. One-third (30.2%) of the study sample was hookah smokers, while 15.4% were cigarette smokers. The students showed similar physical activity levels in the four academic years. The majority of students at different academic levels consumed fruits 1–2 times/week and 5 times cereals, grains, and starchy vegetables/day. ConclusionOur results show that approximately one-third of students are overweight or obese, and practicing unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits. This indicates a need to address this problem, possibly through implementing a nutrition and health education programs at the university in addition to improving the quality of food available on campus.
- Human Nutrition [151 items ]