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Shereen M.S.,Cairo University | Shereen M.S.,Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy | Al-Maflehi N.,University of South Africa | Al Husaini N.,Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy | And 2 more authors.
International Food Research Journal | Year: 2014

The purpose of this study was to assess the preference of different food items among dental students of Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy (RCsDP) in relation to exercise and body mass index (BMI). To do so, we conducted a cross-sectional population survey among dental students. Data were collected from Saudi and non-Saudi students of RCsDP, aged 17-24 years (n = 527). Food preferences were assessed by using a multiple-choice questionnaire. A scoring system was developed in which "continuous" and "often" were given a high score and "never" and "seldom" were given a low score. Food items were categorized into different food groups according to the food pyramid defined by the United States Department of Agriculture. The BMI for all of the students was calculated and students were categorized as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. The normal weight students (2.19 ± 0.444) exhibited a greater preference for the grains group than the overweight students (2.035 ± 0.466). The obese students (1.438 ± 0.55) exhibited a greater preference for the oils group than the normal weight students (1.81 ± 0.609). Males had greater tendency than females to be obese (males, 21.7%, confidence interval (CI) (11.8% - 31.6%; females, 5.6%, CI 3.48% - 7.72%). A high prevalence of underweight (12.4%, CI 9.17% - 15.63%) and overweight (19.8%, CI 15.89% - 23.71%) in Saudi students was observed. We observed statistically significant associations (?2 = 10.7, P = 0.041) between living far from family and being underweight (14.3%, CI 9.07% - 19.53%) and overweight (25.6%, CI 19.08% - 32.12%). No statistically significant differences were observed for the performance of physical activity between the different BMI categories. The RCsDP dental students' food choices reflected proper weight maintaining strategies, accepted dietary knowledge, a reasonable adoption of healthy eating habits, and a moderate involvement in physical activities.

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