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Dietary Behavior of Male and Female High School Students of Hyderabad, Pakistan


Authors: Ahmed J, Rehman SU, Mughal F
Abstract: Objectives: Exposure to energy dense foods increases the risk of obesity and non communicable disease in adult life. We conducted this study to assess the dietary behavior among class six to ten school students of government and private schools in Pakistan.

Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted in a sub district of Hyderabad, Pakistan using a questionnaire to measure food frequency by interviewing them through a recall method. A total of 504 male and female students of 6-10 grades were selected by simple random sampling method.

Results: We found that 83% children did not bring lunch from home to school and 44% ate at a fast food outlet during the school time. We also found that 31% schools allowed some food chain restaurant to sell fast food to students during recess hours and schools took their students to such restaurants for fun and eating trips for on an average of 1.8±0.8 times a week. More than half of the students ate breakfast and lunch at home less than three times a week. We also found that children ate vegetables and fruit least frequently whereas starch and meat containing foods more frequently and in greater amounts.

Conclusions: School children in our sample were exposed to high density fast foods and ate vegetable and fruits less frequently and could access fast foods much easily during school hours. Most did not bring lunch to school. Many schools facilitated the students to be exposed to fast foods by letting fast food companies to operate inside schools or by arranging student trips to the fast food outlets.
Published in: International Journal of Health Sciences;10(27):548-555
URL: http://www.ijhs.org.sa/index.php/journal/article/view/1389
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