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Dietary habits among female medical student in King Khalid University, Abha City, 2014

Safar Abadi Al Saleem, Reem Saeed Alahmari, Mastorah Saeed Alahmari.

Background: Diet and physical activity play important roles in maintaining health. A better understanding of the relationships and healthy behaviors among people are considered as effective prevention and management techniques of lifestyle-related risk factors.

Objective: To assess and determine the dietary habits among the female medical students in King Khalid University (KKU).

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among female medical college students of KKU, Abha. A previously validated questionnaire was used. It consisted of information about the students (age, grade, and marital status), their measurements [weight, height, and body mass index (BMI)], their dietary assessment using Food Frequency Questionnaire, and physical exercise assessment using General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Result: Of the 382 students, 314 female medical students were included for the study with a response rate of 82.2%. Their age ranged between 17 and 29 years. Half of them were normal whereas 20.7% and 9.2% were overweight and obese, respectively. Regarding physical activities, 60.8% female students were physically inactive whereas 29% and 8.6% of them were moderately inactive and active, respectively. Only 1.6% students were active. The infrequent intake of fresh vegetables was associated with higher significant rate of overweight and obesity among female students (12.2% vs. 8.3%, p = 0.009). Less intake of fresh fruits was associated with higher significant rate of obesity among female students (30.5% and 17% vs. 18.4% and 7.5%, respectively, p = 0.008), whereas the frequent intake of chocolate was associated with higher significant rate of overweight among female students (24.7% vs 1.8%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: A considerable proportion of female students of KKU, KSA were either overweight or obese. Some dietary habits were significantly associated with overweight and/or obesity among them.

Key words: Dietary habits, Abha, medical student, female

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