Exploration of the Dietary and Lifestyle Behaviors and Weight Status and Their Self-Perceptions among Health Sciences University Students in North Lebanon
OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to investigate the dietary patterns and sedentary behaviors among university students in Bahrain. MATERIALS AND METHODS A cross-sectional study was carried out with students of the College of Health Sciences in Bahrain using a self-reported questionnaire. All the students enrolled in this college were included in this study (642 students; 90 males and 552 females). The mean age of the sample was 20.1±2.0 years. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect information on the students' breakfast intake, snacking, food frequency intake, and sedentary habits. RESULTS More than 50% of the students did not consume breakfast on a daily basis. A statistically significant difference (p<0.003) was found between males (19%) and females (35%) in relation to the intake of an afternoon snack. There were no significant gender differences regarding frequency of food intake, except for carbonated beverages (p<0.001) and nuts (p<0.047) consumption. Females were more likely than males to spend time watching television, use the Internet, use a mobile phone and sleep; however, the only significant difference found was for Internet use (p<0.003). Being physically active on a daily basis was more prevalent among males (41.6%) than females (16%) (p<0.001). Females (42.9%) were more prone to sleep for less time (<7 h) than males (34.4%)(p<0.08). CONCLUSION The findings indicated that a high percentage of health science students in Bahrain had unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary behaviors. Thus, an intervention program to promote healthy dietary patterns and lifestyle habits among university students is highly recommended.