A nutrition survey of girls in residence at the University of Manitoba

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Miller, Lillian Nina
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During the spring of 1956, a nutrition survey was carried out with 84 girls from the Women's Residence at the University of Manitoba. The nutritional status of the group was determined by means of 7-day food intake records, blood and urine analyses and measurements of height, weight and skinfold thicknesses. Nutrient levels in the individual diets and the residence food supply were calculated using food composition tables. The nutritional adequacy of the diets and the food supply was judged on the basis of Canada's Recommended Allowances for the age group studied (16 to 23 years). The analysis of nutrient levels revealed that four-fifths of the girls received inadequate supplies of iron and three-quarters received insufficient calories. The other nutrients in decreasing order of the number of times they were found poorly supplied were : vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium, protein, thiamine, phosphorus and niacin. No diet has less than the recommended amount of ascorbic acid. Since the residence food supply contained each nutrient in amounts above the requirements of any subject surveyed, each girl could have had an adequate diet if she had selected foods more judiciously. The study of meal patterns and food preferences showed that 10% of the meals were omitted altogether and that less nutritious foods were often selected when there was a choice. The blood levels of hemoglobin, vitamin A and ascorbic acid were below average in 70% of more of the group while that of carotene was low in 15%. All protein readings were satisfactory. Thirteen to 23% of the girls appeared to have insufficient body stores of thiamine, riboflavin or niacin. Anthropometric measurements revealed that less than half of the group was within the normal weight range and that a larger portion was underweight than overweight. The scapular skinfold measurement correlated best with leanness and fatness. The results of this survey should assist those responsible for the food servicing and nutrition education of university students.