Assessment of weight status, dietary habits and beliefs, physical activity, and nutritional knowledge among university students

Najat Yahia, Daniel Wang, Melyssa Rapley, Rajarshi Dey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims: The purpose of this study was to assess weight status, dietary habits, physical activity, dietary beliefs, and nutrition knowledge among a sample of students from Central Michigan University. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a sample of undergraduate students in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 at Central Michigan University. Participating students completed an online questionnaire that included questions related to their eating habits, physical activity and lifestyle, dietary beliefs, and nutritional knowledge. Weight, height, and waist circumference were measured. Percentage body fat and visceral fat score were determined using a Tanita body composition analyser (SC-331S). Results: Outcomes of this study indicated that 78% of female students were within the healthy weight range compared to 52% of male students. Visceral body fat and waist circumference scores were higher in males than in females. Most students showed 'satisfactory' dietary habits. Almost half of the students reported drinking two glasses of milk and consuming two cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Physical activity and lifestyle score indicated that most of the students were not physically active. Only 7% of students reported having a very active lifestyle, and 4% had quite good nutritional knowledge. Conclusion: The majority of students, particularly females, were within the healthy body weight range. Students' dietary habits were satisfactory. However, physical activity, students' knowledge of healthy and unhealthy diet habits, and nutritional knowledge needed improvement. Developing gender-specific programmes for promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours among students is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-244
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Volume136
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Keywords

  • dietary behaviours
  • nutritional knowledge
  • physical activity
  • university students

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