Dietary Habits of University Students Living at Home or at University Dorm: A Cross-Sectional Study in Saudi Arabia
- Etab S. Alghamdi
- Morooj S. Farrash
- Marwan A. Bakarman
- Abdel Moniem Mukhtar
BACKGROUND: Living with the family at home or away from it at the university dorm might affect the behavior of students, including their dietary habits. The aim of this study was to assess the differences in dietary habits between Saudi undergraduate students living with their families and those living at university dorms.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study done at six Saudi universities. We recruited 354 undergraduate students. A self-administered structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics, dietary habits, physical activities, perceived body weight and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Differences between students living at home with their families and those living on campus at university dorms were assessed using the chi-squared test.
RESULTS: Three quarters of our sample were female (77%). Almost 80% of the students lived with their families. Change in dietary habits after joining the university was significantly more common among students living at university dorms (p< 0.001). Major changes in dietary habits were found in 68.6% of students living at home with their families and in 31.4% of those living at university dorms. Moreover, we found significant difference between students living with their families and those living at university dorms, regarding place of breakfast (p= 0.003), place of lunch (p< 0.001), place of dinner (p= 0.002) and perceived body weight (p= 0.018).
CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS: Most of the students were living with their families. However, students living at university dorms were at higher risk of unhealthy change in their dietary habits. More nutritional interventions to enhance the health of students should be introduced.
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