Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences

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Dietary patterns and prevalence of overweight and obesity among female undergraduate students of university of Nigeria, Nsukka

S.N. Eze, R.C. Iheanacho, G.N. Onyeke, R.I. Edeh


Background: Adolescents/young adults are prone to overweight and obesity while transiting from to adulthood.

Objective: The study investigated the dietary patterns and prevalence of overweight and obesity among female undergraduates in University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Methods: This study employed a cross sectional survey design. Multi-stage random sampling technique was used to select 656 participants. Instruments used for data collection were questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. The height and weight measurements of the respondents were used to determine their body mass index. Data collected were analyzed using the computer software package Statistical Product for Service Solution version 22. Descriptive statistics were carried out on the data collected.

Results: The respondents were aged 16 – 29years and had low intake of fruits and vegetables, legumes, meat and fish and high consumption of high calorie dense foods. Majority (75%) of the respondents skipped meals mostly due to time constraint (51.4%) and lack of food and money (20.7%). Up to25.6% of the respondents were overweight, and 10.1% were obese. The prevalence of overweight/obesity was higher (40.4%) among the 16 – 19years than in the 20 - 29years (33.4%).

Conclusion: Respondents’ high consumption of high calorie foods led to high prevalence of overweight /obesity among them. Universities and other institutions of higher learning should initiate health and nutrition education programmes to help students appreciate the importance of healthy dietary pattern and achieve good health and normal body mass index.

Keywords: Dietary patterns, overweight, obesity, undergraduates

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