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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-77

Nutritional knowledge assessment of syrian university students

Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Kalamoon, Damascus, Syria

Correspondence Address:
Louay Labban
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Kalamoon, P.O. Box 30440, Damascus
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-5009.157031

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Nutrition knowledge is one of the factors that affect nutritional status and nutritional habits of individuals, families, and societies. Nutrition knowledge is an important tool in assessing the nutritional status of an individual, group or community. Researchers have been trying to design and develop reliable and valid questionnaires that distinguish and measure nutrition knowledge and its impact on dietary behavior and diet-health awareness. Many studies have shown that nutrition knowledge can affect someone to follow dietary recommendations. The aim of this study was to assess the nutrition knowledge of Syrian university students and to find out if there was any relationship between anthropometric measurements, socioeconomic status, type of university and nutrition knowledge of the students. Nutritional knowledge was assessed using valid nutrition knowledge questionnaire, which covered six main sections. The questionnaire was designed for this study and was adapted from Parameter and Wardle. The number of students participated in the study was 998 students and were selected from four universities) in Syria. They were asked to complete the nutrition knowledge questionnaire under supervision of trained nutritionist. Anthropometric measurements were taken for all participants by trained professional. The results were statistically analyzed and P < 0.05 set to be significant. The total score of nutrition knowledge for all sections was 37.86 ± 0.26 (out of 110). Scores for nutrition knowledge was higher in females as compared with males (38.37 ± 0.35 and 37.29 ± 0.38, respectively). Students who enrolled in health related programs scored higher (41.23 ± 0.05) compared with those who were enrolled in nonhealth-related programs (36.86 ± 0.28). Students in private universities scored higher than students in public universities in total nutrition knowledge (TNK). Very good grade point average students scored the highest points in all sections. Surprisingly, students with body mass index (BMI) >30 had the highest points in TNK. Females had higher TNK score as compared with males. Furthermore, students enrolled in the private university and in health-related programs showed typically better TNK scores than those enrolled in public universities and in nonhealth-related programs. The highest TNK score based on BMI was found among students with BMI >30. The results support the likely value of including nutrition knowledge as a target for health education campaigns aimed at promoting healthy eating.

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