Factors Related to Unhealthy Eating Habits and to Physical Inactivity among Moroccan University Students
Keywords:Eating behavior, Exercise, Overweight, Obesity
Several studies in the Arab world have reported that the dietary habits of the people have become more westernized. We aimed to identify prevalence of unhealthy eating habits and to physical inactivity among university students of Rabat (Morocco) and to search possible factors associated with eating habits and to physical inactivity. A study of 223 healthy Moroccan students aged 20-25 years was conducted. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured, using standardized equipment and procedures. Skinfold thickness was measured using a Harpenden skinfold caliper. Eating habits and physical activity were examined using a questionnaire. Sixteen point six percent of students were overweight or obese, 24.7% had an abdominal obesity and 34.1% had excess of fat. Students feeding included a high consumption of animal products and not enough fruits and vegetables. This reflects the remoteness of the Mediterranean diet in favor of the Western diet. One in three student skipped breakfast and more than 7/10 students nibbled between meals. These imbalances appeared more significant amongst women. A sedentary lifestyle, with no practice of regular physical activity, concerned 2/3 of the surveyed students and was associated with female sex and higher fat thickness. Precautionary measures must be urgently set in place to control the growing overweight and obesity frequencies. A protocol to make students aware of the harm of physical inactivity and an imbalanced diet, and of the necessity to follow a well-balanced diet and to increase physical activity for better health surveillance.
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