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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 13  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 351 - 358

Nutrition and Weight Management Knowledge, Dietary Intake and Body Weight Status in Iranian Postgraduate Students in Universiti Putra Malaysia

Fatemeh Zarei, Mohd Nasir Mohd Taib and Maryam Zarei    

Abstract: Good nutrition, a balanced diet and dietary intake are foundations of good health. Research has found that dietary patterns change dramatically following the arrival of students in a foreign country. However, nutritional status of Iranian students studying overseas have never been investigated. The objective of this study was to assess the associations between socio-demographic factors, nutritional knowledge, weight management knowledge, lifestyle factors, dietary intake and anthropometric factors with body weight status (BMI) among Iranian postgraduate students in UPM. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the body weight status of 210 Iranian postgraduate students aged between 22 and 55 years in University of Putra Malaysia. The associations between body weight status and socio demographics factors nutritional knowledge, weight management knowledge were assessed. Anthropometric factors (height, weight, BMI, waist and hip circumferences and body fat composition) were measured. Chi-square, Spearman Rho and Pearson tests were used for data analysis. From a total of 210 postgraduate students 110 were females and 100 males. No significant correlation was observed between smoking and BMI (p = 0.4). However, statistically significant correlations were observed between gender (p = 0.007), using protein (p = 0.005), carbohydrate (p = 0.002), fat (p = 0.001), fiber (p = 0.003), vitamin C (p = 0.04), calcium (p = 0.005), waist circumference (p = 0.02), hip circumference (p = 0.001), Waist to Hip Ratio (p = 0.002), body fat composition (p = 0.001) and BMI. In a nut shell, the primary findings in the present study showed that physical activity influences were the main factors that predicted the BMI among Iranian postgraduate in UPM. This reflects that increase in physical activity influences would result in decreased BMI among Iranian postgraduate students. In general, the findings of the present study have important public health implications. Hence, the present results prove that the nutritional behavior of university students is poor, although their evidently higher level of education.

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