Assessment of Dietary Diversity and Nutritional Status of Young Nigerian Undergraduates
Background: Lack of nutrition information is a serious challenge facing young adults in some countries resulting in their ignorance of the nutritional values of various foods.
Objective: This study determined the dietary diversity of undergraduate students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AEFUNAI).
Methods: Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting 470 students (234 males and 236 females) between the ages of 17-27 years. A pre-tested semi-structured interviewer–administered questionnaire was used to collect socio- demographic information and 24-hour diet recall.
Anthropometric data was collected using standard procedures. Dietary diversity (DD) was determined using 14-food group dietary diversity model and terciles were created to categorize individual dietary diversity (low: 1-4; average: 5-9; high: 10-14). Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, ANOVA and Chi-square. Statistical significance was determined at 5% level (P <0.05).
Results: Mean age, height, weight and BMI of respondents were 21.2± 2.5 years, 1.69 ± 0.03m, 64.4 ± 2 9.2kg and 22.7 ± 3.0kg/m respectively. Obesity was significantly higher in females (22.9%) than males (9.8%), (P < 0.05). Dietary diversity scores (DDS) was 5.0 ±2.74, and majority (57.9%) scored low. Food consumption by the respondents was significantly different (p<0.05) in two food groups. More males (53.9%) skipped lunch while more females (43.9%) skipped breakfast.
Conclusion: The respondents had low dietary diversity with obesity higher in females than males.
Nutrition education on adequate dietary practices is recommended.
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