Eating Behaviours of University Students in Southern Nigeria: An Evaluation of Sex Differences
University students besides been the future nation builders, also represent the most viable population for education in the field of healthy lifestyles and eating habits. Although, eating habits are major determinate of health status, the eating habits of university students in Southern Nigeria has not been well documented. We aim to investigate their eating habits and sex difference with the view that our findings will be useful in developing adequate nutrition education. The participants, 108 students (48.2% male and 51.9% female), aged 24.1±4.1 filled out a self-reported questionnaire. Height and weight measurement were obtained. Eating habits, frequency of food intake, eating attitudes and fat-related dietary habits were reported. Our data showed that the majority of the students (52.8%) were of normal weight (male 51.9% compared to female 53.6%). The overall prevalence of overweight (obese inclusive) was 40.4% for male and 35.7% for female. In terms of meal consumption frequency, students showed fairly good eating habits. There was no significant sex difference in the frequency of meal intake. Smoking was not common habit among students. Male students had significant lower means scores for modify meat to be low in fat and substitute high fat product with low fat. The correlation analysis of UPI subscale and eating attitude factors revealed some sex variations. For instance, eating attitude factors of F1 and F3 were positively associated with stress and dieting among male students but not for female students while UPI total, depression, anxiety and obsession was significantly related with hours of sleep per night for female but not for male students. Thus, patterns of association suggest a modulating effect of sex on eating behaviors. Efforts aimed at modifying unhealthy eating habits may benefit from a tailored approach, which takes into account individual differences in these factors.
Kehi Harry Nwaka,
Jephtha Christopher Nmor,
Eating Behaviours of University Students in Southern Nigeria: An Evaluation of Sex Differences, Science Journal of Public Health.
Vol. 2, No. 1,
2014, pp. 23-37.
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