Determination of diet patterns and associated factors amongst undergraduate students at Makerere University.
Nankya, Pauline Priscilla
Semukutu, Bisaso Augustus
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Introduction: Nutrition plays an important role in the increasing burden of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Late adolescent to early adulthood is a period of life characterized by modification of one’s pre-existing habits, for instance, changes in diet and diet behaviours. This change in pre-existing habits tends to be maintained throughout the rest of adulthood, which could be hazardous to the one’s health if the patterns are negatively impacting the individual. This study assessed the diet patterns and factors associated and to come up with interventions which can affect the diet habits of the students leading to reduced exposure to issues like NCDs. Objectives: the aim of the study was to determine the diet patterns and the factors affecting such factors among undergraduate students at Makerere University. Methodology: The study utilized a cross-sectional study design and comprised of 385 students from the nine undergraduate halls of residence at the university. Data collection was by use of interviewer-administered questionnaires. Simple random sampling was used to obtain the participants. Diet patterns were assessed as diet type and diet score. The data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 26 and descriptive analysis and analysis of association was done using chi square test. Results: According to this study, students with healthy diet patterns (43.4%) were less than those with unhealthy diet patterns (56.6%).Age, sex and year of study ,watching TV programmes ,reading nutrition books, teaching schedule, money spent on food were the significant factors associated with diet patterns. Conclusion: This study showed that students with healthy diet patterns were less than those with unhealthy diet. Age, sex and year of study were the social demographic factors associated with diet patterns. Knowledge on diet through watching TV programmes and reading nutrition books, teaching schedule, money spent on food were the individual and environmental factors significantly associated with diet patterns. Key words: diet patterns, factors, students, unhealthy diet, healthy diet, diet score.