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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


MONTERO BRAVO, A.; UBEDA MARTIN, N.  and  GARCIA GONZALEZ, A.. Evaluation of dietary habits of a population of university students in relation with their nutritional knowledge. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2006, vol.21, n.4, pp.466-473. ISSN 1699-5198.

Food behaviour is acquired in childhood and is very defficult to be changed latterly in adulthood. The aim of this study was to evaluate if food behaviour and other health habits were in accordance with the nutrition knowledge of a sample of University students from different Health Sciences Careers. Subjects and methods: We studied 105 students (aged 21 ± 2 years) from San Pablo-CEU University (Madrid); 21 where studying Nursing (N), 32 Pharmacy (Ph); 34 Nutrition and dietetics (ND) and 18 were students of Podology (P), all of them had been studying Nutrition as subject during 2003-2004 academic year. All the students filled a questionnaire about health habits and some body image perceptions, diet was evaluated by a 3 day diet record and nutrition knowledge by a 20 questions test. Height and weight were measured using standard procedures. Results: ND students believed they had a medium-high level of nutrition knowledge while Pharmacy and nursing students believed they had a medium-low level and the podology ones had the perception to have a low level of knowledge in the subject. Results of test were in accordance with those perceptions as highest records were obtained by the Nutrition students. Nevertheless very few differences were found in the diet of the four populations. Mean energy intake was similar in the four groups, deficiencies(<80% RDA) were observed in fibre, magnesium, folic acid and vitamin E. About body image, 67% of total population had a BMI of 19-25, no differences were appreciated between groups. Male self-reported weight and height were closer to real than those from women, who underestimated weight (p <0.05) and overestimated height. No differences were observed between healthy living habits (tobacco, alcohol and physical activity) in the four populations. Conclusion: Even if N students believed and showed to have a better nutrition knowledge, no changes in food behaviour or other health habits were found. Improving knowledge does not necessary imply change in food habits.

Keywords : Food behaviour; Nutrición knowledge.

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