Dietary habits of a Mediterranean population of women in an agricultural region of Morocco
Knowing food habits of populations is of importance to better define appropriate public health interventions. The objective of this study was to assess and describe the dietary intake and major food sources of energy and nutrients in a women sample selected from an agricultural region of Morocco. A total of 191 adult women 18–55 years old resident in urban areas in El Jadida, a costal province of Moroccowas selected. Dietary habits were assessed using a combination of a 24-h dietary recall during 3 non consecutive days and a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Food habits are characterized by large consumption of cereals, meat and poultry, fish and sea foods, eggs, fruits and vegetables, but low intake of olive oil. The total energy intake was high and not balanced by physical activity levels. The contribution of lipids to the energy was low but high in saturated fat (39 %) reflected in the higher PUFA/SFA ratio (0.76 ± 0.62). The total carbohydrate consumption was high (61 % of daily energy) and that of fiber was low 18.07 ± 11.44 g. Furthermore a significantly high intake of saturated and monounsaturated fat is observed in the youngest women and women with a higher education level. Except for the intakes of phosphorus and sodium, all minerals and vitamins assessed are below or close to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) while all vitamins are consumed at rates below two-third of RDA by a large proportion of women. The nutrient intake of the studied population is not in line with that recommended for women despite a large consumption of the majority of food groups. Data indicate that dietary guidelines should not consider only quantitative intake but must address adequate numbers of servings and favorable food choices that may explain, in part, the nutritional and metabolic disorders reported in this population.
Keywords: women, Diet - intake - habits, Mediterranean, Morocco
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