Cheli Vettori, Josiane1; Covolo, Nayara2; Savegnago Mialich, Mirele3; Jordao Junior, Alceu Afonso4
Introduction: The nutritional status and eating behavior of university students are related to socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors, with diffe - rent effects in terms of meeting the nutritional needs of these individuals.
Objectives: To analyze the eating habits, weight evolution and body image of university students in the heath area of the Ribeirao Preto Campus, University of Sao Paulo (USP).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 501 students enrolled in health area courses of USP, Ribeirao Preto Campus. A questionnaire was applied in order to obtain sociodemographic data, number of meals and weight gain after entering the university, as well as information about the students’ perception of their own body image and of the body image of their parents. Height and weight were measured, body composition (fat mass, fat free mass and body water) was determined by bioimpedance and the body mass index (BMI) was calculated.
Results: The 501 university students were enrolled in the courses of Medicine (12.4%), Nursing (18.5%), Nutrition and Metabolism (19.5%), Physiotherapy (15%), Physical Education (11.8%), Speech Therapy (8.8%), Biomedical Informatics (8.6%), and Occu - pational Therapy (5.4%). Mean student age was 20.4±2.8 and mean BMI was 22.4±3.4 kg/m2, the majority of students were single (98.80%), females (73.05%), not smoking (96.2%) but with consumption of alcoholic beverages (66.0%). Regarding eating behavior, the mean percentages of daily meals taken by the students and of those taken on the premises of the university Campus were, respectively: breakfast (83.8% and 3.99%), morning snack (34.1% and 23.7%), lunch (99.6% and 82.8%), afternoon snack (69.6% and 41.7%), dinner (93.4% and 29.5%), and supper (30.1% and 0.19%). Regarding weight evolution was evaluated whether there was a gain, loss or weight maintenance after entering at the University, and it was found similar values between genders, with men (44.4%, 15.5% and 40% and 49.7%) and women (49.7%, 23.4% and 26.7%) respectively. Regarding self-image, 61.47% of the students classified themselves as normal and reported the same classification of body perception of their father (42.31%) and mother (54.09%).
Conclusions: regarding this study it was detected the majority of students in the eutrophic range, accor - ding to BMI, and the presence of students who progressed to weight gain after university entrance. Changes in eating behavior and drinking habit were also found in this stage of life. Finally, the university should introduce programs to help the students in food a life style choices in order to promote and preserve their health.