Energy and nutrient intake among university students enrolled in an introductory nutrition course

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Khawar, Hibah
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Introduction: Several Canadian studies have reported that Canadian children and adolescents do not consume the recommended amount of nutrients. Studies have also shown that dietary habits developed during adolescence are likely to persist during adulthood. The transition from late adolescence to early adulthood accompanies a shift in eating pattern especially among young adults entering university. Health-related behaviors acquired by students while in the university have a strong impact on their future health. Thus, this study investigates the dietary intakes of university students enrolled in an introductory nutrition course at the University of Manitoba. Objectives: 1) To estimate the energy and nutrient intake and estimate the adequacy of nutrient intake according to the recommendations by applying the Cut-point method. 2) To estimate the number of servings of four food groups and the adequacy according to Canada's Food Guide (CFG) recommendations. 3) To investigate whether the reported energy intake was corresponding to the energy required depending upon physical activity level, sex group, age, height, and weight. Methodology: This cross-sectional study obtained data from the 3-day food log (n=68; 44 females and 24 males) from Summer 2015 and Summer 2016. For food analysis, Food Focus software version 4.1 was used. Students younger than 19 years of age, with the incomplete food log and pregnant women were excluded. Intake of energy, 32 nutrients and the number of servings from four food groups were estimated. Compliance with the dietary recommendations was assessed by applying the Cut-point method. This study was performed in an anonymized manner. Results: On average, 19% of students were below the lower end of AMDR (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range) for carbohydrate and 16% were above the upper end of AMDR for total fat. The prevalence of inadequacy for micronutrient intake was higher among males than females. The average intake of sodium was excessive for 79% males and 36% females. For food groups, overall the prevalence of inadequacy was 65% for fruits and vegetables, 66% for grain products, 46% for milk and alternatives. Conclusion: Findings from this self-reported 3-day food log study suggest that the university students may be at high risk for inadequate energy and nutrient intakes. Additional large-scaled studies are required to verify our findings.
Nutrition, University