Association between sedentariness, eating habits and body composition among Eswatini University students

  • Cecil G.S. Tafireyi
  • Jeanne Grace
Keywords: Body Mass Index (BMI); Breakfast intake; Dietary patterns; Health promotion programmes; Physical activity.


Sedentariness and varied eating habits influence body composition and increase the risk of developing lifestyle diseases. The study aimed to investigate the sedentary levels, eating habits and body composition of university students in Eswatini, as well as unpacking the association of body composition with sedentariness and eating habits. The study recruited 158 participants, 82 females with a mean age of 21.3±2.1 years and 76 males with a mean age of 22.2±2.48 years, using random sampling at the University of Eswatini, Kwaluseni Campus. A seven-day self-administered sedentary measurement questionnaire and the 24-hour diet recall questionnaire were administered, in addition to Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations. The students presented with high levels of weekday sedentary behaviours of 6.7±0.92 hours. A high daily carbohydrate of 7.1±2.81 servings and high meal intake of 3.7±0.99 servings were noted. Snacking habits were prevalent (36.8%). The majority of the students (95%) did not skip breakfast. There was a high prevalence of overweight and obesity (40.4%). The correlation between body composition and sedentary behaviours was positive, but not significant (r=0.146; p=0.068). Despite this weak correlation, the study confirms unhealthy behaviours amongst university students and highlights the need for health promotion intervention programmes for Eswatini university students.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069