Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-1119 ISSN (Online): 2333-1240 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prabhat Kumar Mandal
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2020, 8(12), 716-721
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-8-12-4
Open AccessArticle

Knowledge Status of Dietary Guidelines and Portion Sizes in Saudi Arabian Mothers; A Cross-Sectional Study

Noor Hakim1, , Najlaa Alsini1, Hebah Kutbi1, Rana Mosli1, Noura Eid1 and UZ Mulla2

1Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London

Pub. Date: December 04, 2020

Cite this paper:
Noor Hakim, Najlaa Alsini, Hebah Kutbi, Rana Mosli, Noura Eid and UZ Mulla. Knowledge Status of Dietary Guidelines and Portion Sizes in Saudi Arabian Mothers; A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2020; 8(12):716-721. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-8-12-4


Currently there is little research investigating awareness or use of dietary guidelines in Saudi Arabia. This study aims to investigate Saudi Arabian mother’s knowledge of current dietary guidelines regarding food groups and portion sizes and to investigate its relation to the sociodemographic factors. This cross-sectional study used community-based family events to recruit mothers and children. Health stands offering nutrition information and advice were used at these events for study recruitment and nutritional advices to attract them. A short online questionnaire was used to interview mothers during the events to measure their knowledge of dietary guideline and portion sizes. The questionnaire included questions to assess knowledge of dietary guidelines and portion sizes. Questions about the serving size of each food groups and the dietary guideline ‘MyPlate’ were included; the study recruited a convenience sample of 101 participants. Quantitative analysis using Chi-square and Kruksan-Wallis tests. We found 29.1 % of the participants were aware of the MyPlate guidelines and 51.5 % said that they are affected by healthy plate choices. Being married was significantly associated with knowing about the MyPlate Image (P= 0.004). Correct identification of food groups on the MyPlate Image and correct identification of serving sizes of food group was less than 50% for most food groups. A significantly greater percentage of those with a postgraduate education were accurate about the correct servings of fruit, vegetables and grains (P=0.049). Nutrition knowledge of food groups and serving sizes was poor in the sample of Saudi Arabian women. This research provides evidence that nutrition education is needed in the Saudi Arabia and the finding are relevant for future health promotion strategies. The study has also identified sociodemographic groups that possibly may need to be targeted with more attention in future nutrition education programs such as those with low income, lower education level and unmarried women.

mother and child diet portion size healthy eating habit dietary guidelines knowledge background

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Dickson-Spillmann, M. and M. Siegrist., “Consumers' knowledge of healthy diets and its correlation with dietary behaviour”, J Hum Nutr Diet, 24(1): 54-60. 2011.
[2]  Jahns, L., et al., “Recognition of Federal Dietary Guidance Icons Is Associated with Greater Diet Quality”, J Acad Nutr Diet, 118(11): 2120-2127. 2018.
[3]  Schwartz, J.L. and J.A. Vernarelli, “Assessing the Public's Comprehension of Dietary Guidelines: Use of MyPyramid or MyPlate Is Associated with Healthier Diets among US Adults”, J Acad Nutr Diet, 119(3): 482-489. 2019.
[4]  Wardle, J., K. Parmenter, and J. Waller, “Nutrition knowledge and food intake”, Appetite, 34(3): 269-75. 2000.
[5]  Spronk, I., et al., “Relationship between nutrition knowledge and dietary intake”, Br J Nutr, 111(10): 1713-26. 2014.
[6]  General Director of Nutrition, M.o.H. and Saudi Dietary Guideline (Healthy Diet Palm). Riyadh: Ministry of Health Publications, (2012).
[7]  Moradi-Lakeh, M., et al., “Diet in Saudi Arabia: findings from a nationally representative survey”, Public Health Nutr, 20(6): 1075-1081. 2017.
[8]  Lively, K., et al., “Mothers’ self-reported grocery shopping behaviours with their 2- to 7-year-old children: relationship between feeding practices and mothers’ willingness to purchase child-requested nutrient-poor, marketed foods, and fruits and vegetables”, Public Health Nutrition, 20(18): 3343-3348. 2017.
[9]  Johnson, C.M., et al., “It's who I am and what we eat. Mothers' food-related identities in family food choice”, Appetite, 57(1): 220-8. 2011.
[10]  Uruakpa, F.O., et al., “Awareness and use of MyPlate Guidelines in Making Food Choices”, Procedia Food Science, 2: 180-186. 2013.
[11]  Brown, O.N., L.E. O'Connor, and D. Savaiano, “Mobile MyPlate: a pilot study using text messaging to provide nutrition education and promote better dietary choices in college students”, J Am Coll Health. 62(5): 320-7. 2014.
[12]  D'Adamo, C.R., et al., “Spice MyPlate: Nutrition Education Focusing Upon Spices and Herbs Improved Diet Quality and Attitudes Among Urban High School Students”, Am J Health Promot, 30(5): 346-56. 2016.
[13]  Johnson-Glenberg, M.C. and E.B. Hekler, “Alien Health Game: An Embodied Exergame to Instruct in Nutrition and MyPlate, Games Health J, 2(6): 354-61. 2013.
[14]  Proscia, A., Patient education. “MyPlate for healthy eating with chronic kidney disease (MyPlate education for patients with chronic kidney disease receiving hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis treatment)”, J Ren Nutr, 24(3): 23-5. 2014.
[15]  Newswire., P., 15 Top diet trends for 2015. What’s trending in nutrition? Survey of nutrition experts predicts popular trends. 2014. for-2015-300011670.html. 2014. Accessed April 16, 2018.
[16]  United States Department of Agriculture, C.f.P.a. and Promotion., Development of 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans consumer messages and new food icon: Executive summary of formative research 2011. lematerials/ExecutiveSummaryOfFormativeResearch.pdf. Accessed April 16, 2018.
[17]  Farahat, F. M., El-Shafie, M. M., and Waly, I. M. “Food safety knowledge and practices among Saudi women”, Food Control, 47:427-435. 2015
[18]  Schwartz, J. L. and Vernarelli J. A. “Assessing the Public's Comprehension of Dietary Guidelines: Use of MyPyramid or MyPlate Is Associated with Healthier Diets among US Adults”, J Acad Nutr Diet,119(3): 482- 489. 2019.
[19]  Turrell, G., et al., “Measuring socio-economic position in dietary research: is choice of socio-economic indicator important?” Public Health Nutr, 6(2): 191-200. 2003.
[20]  Thornton, L.E., J.R. Pearce, and K. Ball, “Sociodemographic factors associated with healthy eating and food security in socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the UK and Victoria, Australia”, Public Health Nutr,17(1): 20-30. 2014.
[21]  Cade, J., et al., “Costs of a healthy diet: analysis from the UK Women's Cohort Study”, Public Health Nutr, 2(4): 505-12. 1999.
[22]  Pollard, J., et al., “Lifestyle factors affecting fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK Women's Cohort Study”, Appetite, 37(1): 71-9. 2001.
[23]  Billson, H., J.A. Pryer, and R. Nichols, “Variation in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in Britain. An analysis from the dietary and nutritional survey of British adults”, Eur J Clin Nutr, 53(12): 946-52. 1999.
[24]  Newton, N.J., et al., “Cohort differences in the marriage-health relationship for midlife women”, Soc Sci Med, 116: 64-72. 2014.
[25]  Murphy, M., E. Grundy, and S. Kalogirou, “The increase in marital status differences in mortality up to the oldest age in seven European countries, 1990-99”, Popul Stud (Camb), 61(3): 287-98. 2007.
[26]  Wyke, S. and G. Ford, “Competing explanations for associations between marital status and health”, Soc Sci Med, 34(5):523-32. 1992.
[27]  Wilmoth, J. and G. Koso, “Does Marital History Matter? Marital Status and Wealth Outcomes Among Preretirement Adults” Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(1):254-268. 2002.
[28]  Smith, K.J., et al., “Associations between Partnering and Parenting Transitions and Dietary Habits in Young Adults”, J Acad Nutr Diet, 117(8): 1210-1221. 2017.
[29]  Laroche, H.H., et al., “Changes in diet behavior when adults become parents”, J Acad Nutr Diet, 112(6):832-9. 2012.
[30]  Lo, Y.T., et al., “Health and nutrition economics: diet costs are associated with diet quality”, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 18(4):598-604. 2009.
[31]  Mulik, K. and L. Haynes-Maslow, “The Affordability of MyPlate: An Analysis of SNAP Benefits and the Actual Cost of Eating According to the Dietary Guidelines”, J Nutr Educ Behav, 49(8): 623-631. 2017.
[32]  Smed, S., et al., “The consequences of unemployment on diet composition and purchase behaviour: a longitudinal study from Denmark”, Public Health Nutr, 21(3):580-592. 2018.
[33]  Si Hassen, W., et al., “Socio-economic and demographic factors associated with snacking behavior in a large sample of French adults”, Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 15(1): 25. 2018.
[34]  Stait, E. and M. Calnan, “Are differential consumption patterns in health-related behaviours an explanation for persistent and widening social inequalities in health in England?” Int J Equity Health, 15(1): 171. 2016.
[35]  Oddo, V.M. and S.B. Ickes, “Maternal employment in low- and middle-income countries is associated with improved infant and young child feeding”, Am J Clin Nutr, 107(3): 335-344. 2018.