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Gender differences in weight status, dietary habits, and health attitudes among college students in Kuwait: A cross-sectional study

Dalal Alkazemi
Nutrition and Health 2018 December 17, : 260106018817410

BACKGROUND: A better understanding of the factors involved in health and wellness among college students can aid in the design of interventions that can reduce the rate of weight gain during young adulthood.

AIM: The aim of this study was to determine the gender differences in weight status, dietary habits, and health attitudes in a sample of college students at Kuwait University (KU).

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 615 students were recruited from KU between November 2013 and March 2014. Components of the study included a self-report questionnaire, assessment of body mass index, and calculation of Healthy Eating Score (HES) to assess eating habits and attitudes. Statistical analyses were performed to assess the gender differences among these domains.

RESULTS: The findings revealed that a greater proportion of men were overweight and obese compared to women (28.7% and 23.8% vs. 19.9% and 12.1%, respectively). Both genders show equally unhealthy dietary habits, marked by low mean HES scores. Gender-specific dietary patterns were noted, with more men reporting eating >6 oz (168 g) of animal protein per day as compared to women (48.4% vs. 28.9%, p < 0.001). A higher proportion of female students reported regular consumption of potato chips and fatty salty snacks (51.3% and 40.4%, respectively, p = 0.12) and that they ate sweets more than twice a day (52.5% and 39.9%, respectively, p = 0.041).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight the need for evidence-based gender-specific strategies to reduce the number of overweight and obese college students and promote healthy dietary habits and eating attitudes among this population.


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