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  • Author: Monica Tarcea x
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Food Consumption Frequency at Students from Rural Areas from Moldova Republic


Objective: Our study aim to evaluate the characteristics of nutrition behavior at teenagers from Moldova’s rural area schools in order to make a profile of risk behavior related to diet and to implement efficient community intervention programs.

Methods: We studied in 2014 the daily frequency consumption of the main food groups, in a sample of 1236 students of 7th-12th class, from rural localities of the Republic of Moldova, using the questionnaire method.

Results: The teenagers had consumed on the day preceding the interview, cereals and bakery products – 99.2%, fruits – 86.7%, cooked vegetables – 72.6%, meat dishes – 72.1%, potatoes – 50.3%, dairy products – 46.9%, raw vegetables – 44.7%, eggs – 25.3%, fish – 19.4%, raw fruits juice – 14.8%, legumes – 12.5% of students. From those investigated 52.6% have consumed food with high fat content higher than recommended levels. Regarding the food groups present in the menu we registered a satisfactory level of consumption by the students for cereals and bakery products, fruits, cooked vegetables and meat dishes; relatively satisfactory - the consumption of dairy products, raw vegetables and potatoes; unsatisfactory level for the consumption of eggs, fish and legumes.

Conclusions: We sustain the idea that it is important to constantly evaluate the risk factors related to the inadequate diet at teenagers and to implement efficient community intervention in order to prevent nutrition related diseases that can occur.

Open access
Assesing the Knowledge, Attitudes and Eating Habits of Dietary Fibers in Tîrgu-Mureş Population


Background: The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and eating habits upon consumption of dietary fibers in a group of people from Tirgu-Mures area.

Material and Method: We used a transversal descriptive study conducted on a group of 251 subjects from the urban area (76.4%), as well as from the rural area (23.6%), aged between 18 and 62 years, obtained using an online questionnaire consisting of 40 questions related to knowledge and attitude towards dietary fibers and estimated consumption of fiber from whole foods.

Results: In the study group, we observed that 21.28% consumed whole cereals once per week and 18% did not consume cereals at all; regarding fruit consumption 17.44% consumed 6-8 pieces/week, and 3.4% consumed over 18 pieces/week. Frequency of fast food –meals consuming: 67.68% did not consume fast-food meals, 25.25% ate fast food once/week, and 1.1% consumed fast food between 8-10 times/week. Concerning the statement that fibers can prevent and/or treat colon cancer and obesity, 40% fully accepted the statement, 40% agreed, 14.29% were indifferent and 4.7% were against. From the total group of subjects, approximately 37.6% knew the meaning and classification of dietary fiber, 26.8% knew the recommended amount of fiber to be consumed daily, and 5.9% did not check the fiber content of foods ever.

Conclusions: The inclusion of cereals and whole foods in diet is recommended in all nutrition guidelines worldwide, because of their association with a high health status, and prevention of chronic diseases. Consumers need to understand the benefits of whole foods, also to recognize and read the information about it on food labels.

Open access
Perception of Healthy Eating among Romanian Adults


Background: Totaling about 60% of all causes of death, chronic illnesses are the main cause of global mortality. Unhealthy behaviors, such as unbalanced eating or insufficient physical activity, can trigger metabolic changes, manifested by hypertension, high blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, obesity. These changes are grouped into the category of metabolic risk factors. Over time, these factors can cause cardiovascular diseases associated with a high mortality rate.

Aim of the study: To evaluate the perception of healthy eating in a Romanian population.

Material and methods: We applied a validated online questionnaire aimed to investigate people’s attitude towards diet and their motivation regarding food consumption in ten countries, based on an international project. For the present paper, we evaluated a Romanian sample of 821 adult respondents.

Results: Most of the subjects (82.82%) were from an urban area, and 68.94% were women. Regarding the prevalence of chronic diseases, 3.53% of participants had cardiovascular disease, 6.69% had high cholesterol levels, 7.18% were obese, and 6.57% were suffering from high blood pressure. Significant correlations have been identified between calorie count, excessive sugar and salt consumption, gender variables, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. Also, tradition is very important in relation to eating behaviors, being highly correlated with obesity. The general direction of answers was correct, even if half of the questionnaire items were formulated in a ‘negative’ way, and disagreement is needed for a consistent response with a correct perception of healthy diets. The overall perception of healthy eating was consistent with scientific information in the field.

Conclusion: Women are generally better informed than men regarding healthy eating. Also, there is a possible conflict between traditional food-related cultural values and modern nutritional guidelines based on scientific information.

Open access
The Study of Water Quality of Several Local Sources


Aim: The aim of this study is to analyze the water quality of several local sources from the Toplița-Deda region, as well as from the Gheorgheni basin, in order to inform the population about the water quality and about the importance of the drinking water control.

Method: Repeated water samples were collected from a total number of 41 sources in the two studied regions during 2010. A multiparametric colorimeter, Hanna Instruments C99 was used to determine certain physical and chemical parameters. A number of current and specific microbiological analyses were also carried out.

Results: The average values and the percentage of the positive samples with values above permitted limits were calculated. The highest accepted levels were based on Law no. 458/2002 regarding drinkable water quality. Among the mineral indicators iron exceeded the limit in 18.18% and water samples were poor in fluoride (83.65%) and in iodine (98.18%). A small percentage of sources (3.63%) indicated pollution, 10.9% had high nitrate level. Analyzing the microbiological content, our water samples were within the drinkability limits required by law.

Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the importance of monitoring water supplies, the awareness of the water quality according to mineral composition, pollution estimation and microbiological characteristics in order to prevent the unexpected influence on the health status of the consumer population.

Open access
The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Between Meals in a Cross-Sectional Study of a Health Oriented Adult Population


Objectives: To assess the prevalence of snacking and to explore the relationship between snacking and several demographic, anthropometric, functional and biochemical factors. Methods: The study included 756 individuals over 18 years of age from Medias, Romania. Demographics and data about snacking were collected by trained volunteers. Height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure were measured with standard equipment according to accepted procedures. Blood glucose and cholesterol were measured by experienced nurses using portable devices. Associations between variables were checked with the Pearson Chi-square test. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to measure the association between binary variables. Results: About half of the subjects in the studied sample reported snacking less than 2 times / week, 34.5% between 3-4 times / week and 14.8% more than 4 times / week. Statistical analysis found that snacking was associated with gender (males being less likely to snack than females), ethnicity (non-Romanians being less likely to snack than Romanian ethnics), marital status of the subjects (not married people being less likely to snack than married people ), systolic blood pressure (people consuming more often snacks being less likely to have high systolic blood pressure values), and blood sugar level (people eating more frequently between meals being more likely to have higher blood glucose levels). Conclusions: Snacking was a widespread eating habit among the study participants and was significantly associated with gender, ethnicity, marital status, systolic blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Open access
Maternal Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Regarding Dietary Fats


Objective: The purpose of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding dietary fats among mothers in Romania.

Material and methods: A sample of 305 mothers from Romania were included in a cross-sectional observational study. The online questionnaire addressed their knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding the dietary fats used in their children’s diet. The frequencies and proportions of the collected variables were calculated based on respondents’ answers.

Results: While almost all the respondents (94.8%) believed that mothers are supposed to know the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, only less than half of them (39.7%) stated that they know the difference. As far as the types of margarine, although more than half of the respondents (64.7%) believed that mothers should be able to discriminate between the hydrogenated and interesterified margarine, only 11.5% claimed that they are able to discern between them. The actual ability to identify foods rich in saturated fats varied in a great degree from item to item. More common dietary fats such as sunflower oil, corn oil, and lard, were more frequently identified than less common dietary fats such as coconut oil and palm oil. Only 16.4% of the mothers were able to correctly differentiate hydrogenated from interesterified margarine. The most frequently used spreadable fat used in the children’s diet was butter and the most frequently used cooking fats were sunflower oil, olive oil, and butter.

Conclusion: The results of this study might be informative in the development of maternal nutrition education programs.

Open access
Identification of Behavioral Risk Factors During Pregnancy


Exposure to smoking during pregnancy is known to be one of the main modifiable risk factors, which threatens maternal and child health. Along with this factor, are not to be neglected also other risk factors belonging to lifestyle sphere, such as alcohol, sedentary, irregular daily meal serving plan, lack of knowledge.

Main objective is identification of behavioral risk factors during pregnancy in a group of recently given birth women, hospitalized in three maternities of Tirgu Mures County.

Open access
Research Article. Relationship Between High Levels of Salivary Cotinine Test and Demographic Characteristics of Pregnant Smokers from Mures County


Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between the frequency of self-declared status regarding smoking in a group of pregnant women from Mures county, Romania and the high levels of Salivary Cotinine (SC) like biomarkers. Material and methods: It was conducted a retrospective study among 230 pregnant women presented for prenatal care at 50 General Practitioners cabinets in Mures county, Romania, in 2015. Data were collected with a validated questionnaire which included age, level of education, socioeconomic status and ethnicity, also the self-reported smoking status. The Salivary Cotinine level was evaluated using NicAlert Saliva test kits. Results: Using salivary test we identified a high prevalence of involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke among both non-smokers and those who quit smoking before pregnancy. Also we registered pregnant women that although declared smoking cessation before pregnancy their salivary Cotinine levels were high, almost like to an active smoker, probably because of second-hand exposure or because they didn’t say the truth about their habit. Conclusions: We underline the importance of implementing more efficient community interventions among this vulnerable group in order to reduce the frequency of smoking and sustain quitting.

Open access
The Association between Various Lifestyle Patterns and the Body Mass Index in Adolescents


Objective: The study aims to analyze obesogenic behavioral patterns of adolescents living in Mureş County, Romania, as well as to establish a relationship between these behaviors and their Body Mass Index (BMI), in an attempt to provide effective prevention strategies for obesity.

Material and Methods: 153 students between 9th to 12th grade, aged between 14 and 19 years old, from the Vocational and Art Highschool of Târgu Mureş were included in the study. All the candidates filled out an evaluation questionnaire of lifestyle and risky behaviors. The analyzed data were sex, age, residence, BMI and risky eating behavior defined as the consumption of carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, sweets), sodas, junk food, alcohol (wine, distilled beverages, beer), beer separately, level of physical activity (school and extra-school sports activities), sedentary behaviors (≥2 hours/day in front of a screen: personal computer-PC and television-TV), and spending ≥2 hours/day separately on the PC and on the TV.

Results: A statistically significant association was observed between BMI and consumption of fast-food, tobacco, beer, sedentary behavior and spending ≥2 hours/day in front of the PC. Moreover, there was a statistically significant difference between the BMI values of adolescents presenting all studied risk behaviors compared to those who did not.

Conclusions: Obesity among adolescents from Mureş County is influenced by lifestyle choices like fast-food, tobacco, beer, sedentary behavior and spending ≥2 hours/day in front of the PC.

Open access
Associated Behavioral Risks in a Group of Women During Pregnancy from Mures District


Background. It is well-known that the exposure during pregnancy to lifestyle risk factors can affect thehealth both for the mother and the fetus. There are many risk factors for pregnancy, including: smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary pattern, irregular daily meal serving plan, lack of knowledge regarding health prevention. The main objective of our study was to assess the practices, knowledge and attitudes towards lifestyle risk behaviors during pregnancy in a group of women from Tirgu-Mures area.

Materials and methods. We used a cross-sectional study based on a questionnaire, assessingsmoking behavior and lifestyle patterns during pregnancy, on a group of 481 women from the urban area (58.84%), as well as from the rural area (41.16%) from Mures county.

Results. In the study group, 190 women (39.5%) used to smoke before pregnancy; among which 37.36% continued to smoke even after they found out they are pregnant. In the group of pregnant women that continued to smoke during pregnancy, we have studied other behavioral factors related to lifestyle, identifying the following: 5,73% have been consuming alcohol weekly, 56.33% reduced greatly their physical activity level, 3.63% have been consuming at least 3 cups of coffee a day. During pregnancy, 12.72% did not have a regular, daily meal serving plan, and 67.26% was a little or not at all concerned about their eating habits. Only 30.9% from the smoking pregnant women group have received information from the family doctor (GP) regarding the risk factors of smoking habits, while 38.18% did not receive any information.

Conclusions. Behavioral risk factors in pregnancy have to be followed closely by the HealthCare System in order to avoid complications for the mother and the child. The best way of accomplishing that is through an efficient community intervention.

Open access