Assessing Nutritional Awareness and Dietary Practices of College-aged Students for Developing an Effective Nutrition Educational Plan

Amany A. Salama*, Naglaa M. Ismael
Nutrition Department, Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, Pharos University, Alexandria, Egypt
*Corresponding Author Email Address: amanysalama@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT
Background: Identification of teen awareness and dietary practices is the first step towards promotion of adopting healthy eating habits. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional awareness and common dietary practices for a sample of 1st year undergraduate students and to design a relevant and effective nutrition education plan NEP tailored based on their specific dietary behaviors. Subjects and Methods: A cross sectional study design was selected and a detailed questionnaire was administered to a convenient sample of 165, 1st year undergraduate allied medical students who agreed to participate in the study during fall semester 2017-2018. Participating students were asked to fill out the self-reported questionnaire that included as well their weight, and height and demographic data. Knowledge was questioned through four sections, containing 50 questions in total pertaining to important aspects of nutrition plus an extra question concerned with source of receiving knowledge about nutrition. Results: Our study revealed that only 12% (n=19) of our sample had good awareness, 76% (n=127) had Partial awareness, while 12% (n=19) showed poor awareness about the major functions of macronutrients. Source of nutritional information was mainly the internet.  Half the students did not know the connection concerning Vitamin A and night blindness, iodine contribution to thyroxin or functions and sources of vitamin K, D, and E. There was a statistically significant correlation between awareness and mother’s education, (r = 0.23, P = 0.003) and father’s education, (r = 0.212, P = 0.006). A negative correlation was shown between body mass index and awareness (r = -0.336, P = <0.001). Conclusion: Students have poor knowledge about the major function of macronutrients, types, sources, function of micronutrient and consequences of deficiencies. University campus can be an effective and efficient medium to influence improvement in the nutritional knowledge. There is a need for specific nutrition education messages along with targeted interventions.

Keywords: Nutrition Awareness, Undergraduate, Dietary Practices, Nutrition Education

Citation: Salama AA, Ismael NM. Assessing Nutritional Awareness and Dietary Practices of College-aged Students for Developing an Effective Nutrition Educational Plan. Canad J Clin Nutr 2018; 6 (2): 22-42.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14206/canad.j.clin.nutr.2018.02.03

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