Anthropometric Characteristics, Nutritional Status And Dietary Habits In A College Population

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Abstract

The college student population is prone to irregular food intake and the excessive intake of carbohydrates and snacks. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationships among anthropometric characteristics, dietary habits and nutritional knowledge in female students attending a healthcare college.

Our investigation enrolled 100 college students at the High Health School of Professional Studies in Belgrade, 19-30 years old, who underwent anthropometric measurements and an investigation by questionnaire of their nutritional knowledge as well as recorded a 7-day food diary. The results were interpreted in relation to their location of nutritional intake.

The majority of students showed good nutritional knowledge. Of the total population, 83% were of normal weight, 11% were overweight, and 5% were underweight. The average Body Mass Index values, as well as body fat percentage, were similar regardless of the type of eating location, but all overweight and obese students were recorded in the groups that ate in the student dining facility and that prepared food and ate by themselves. Students who ate with their families ate significantly fewer fats and proteins but significantly more carbohydrates compared to students in the other two groups. Higher fat intake and snack consumption are significantly related to an increased percentage of body fat. Fruit intake is inversely related to body fat percentage.

Despite the relatively low prevalence of overweight, obesity, and underweight in the investigated population, the given results indicate that students may benefit from health promotion activities, increased knowledge and improved eating habits. This is especially important considering that they are future health professionals.

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