Two recent studies conducted on young College Arab Women showed a trend towards over nutrition. It is well known that good eating habits adopted early in life not only improve health and control obesity in the youthful years but also promote healthy eating behaviours in later life.
To investigate the dietary habits of young college women and identify specific areas for nutrition education.
A self-administered questionnaire containing 20 items related to qualitative dietary history was distributed to all the college (King Faisal University, Dammam) women residing in the hostel during a one-week period in April 1998.
Out of a total of 56 women, 50.7% frequently missed out on breakfast and lunch. To satisfy their state of hunger, frequent snacking with deserts/carbohydrate-rich food items (21.4%) and consumption of regular cola drinks (32.1%) was common. Fast food rich in fat and calories from restaurants was popular among a majority (98.2%) of the students. On the other hand, there was a deficient intake of protective foods and nutrients for repair, maintenance and growth, such as fruits (73.2%), vegetables (85.6%), milk and milk products (66.1%) and protein-rich foods (82.1%).
To decrease the risk of malnutrition among young college women, there is a need to target them for nutrition education and adoption of healthy eating practices within the context of a healthy life style.