BACKGROUND: Eating habits have been a major concern among university students as a determinant of health status. The aim of this study was to assess the pattern of eating habits and its associated social and psychological factors among medical students.
METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted among 132 medical students of pre-clinical phase at a Malaysian university. A self-administered questionnaire was used which included questions on socio-demography, anthropometry, eating habits and psychosocial factors.
RESULTS: Mean (± SD) age of the respondents was 22.7 (± 2.4) years and (the age) ranged from 18 to 30 years. More than half had regular meals and breakfast (57.6% &, 56.1% respectively). Majority (73.5%) consumed fruits less than three times per week, 51.5% had fried food twice or more a week and 59.8% drank water less than 2 liters daily. Eating habits score was significantly low among younger students (18-22 years), smokers, alcohol drinkers and those who did not exercise. (p<0.05). Four psychological factors out of six, were significantly associated with eating habits (p<0.05). In multivariate analysis, age and 'eating because of feeling happy' were significantly associated with eating habits score (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Most of the students in this study had healthy eating habits. Social and psychological factors were important determinants of eating habits among medical students.
Study site: Management and Science University, Selangor, Malaysia
Scales & Questionnaires: Compulsive Eating Scale
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.