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Kobayashi, F. Academic achievement, BMI, and fast food intake of American and Japanese college students. Nutr. Food Sci. 2009.

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Article

Dietary Habits, BMI, and Demographic Characteristics affect the Academic Performance of University Students in Saudi Arabia: A Cross-sectional Study

1Nutrition and Food Science Department, Taibah University, Al Madinah Al Munawarah, Saudi Arabia, Postal code: 41411, P.O.Box 344

2Clinical Nutrition Department, Taibah University, Al Madinah Al Munawarah, Saudi Arabia


Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2021, Vol. 9 No. 3, 136-141
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-9-3-5
Copyright © 2021 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Rola A. Jalloun, Ahlam B. El Shikieri. Dietary Habits, BMI, and Demographic Characteristics affect the Academic Performance of University Students in Saudi Arabia: A Cross-sectional Study. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2021; 9(3):136-141. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-9-3-5.

Correspondence to: Ahlam  B. El Shikieri, Clinical Nutrition Department, Taibah University, Al Madinah Al Munawarah, Saudi Arabia. Email: abmukhtar@taibahu.edu.sa

Abstract

Background: Students' academic performance remains one of the ongoing debate topics among educators, academicians, and policy-makers. We aimed to assess the effect of dietary habits, demographic characteristics, and body mass index (BMI) on academic performance. Method: An epidemiological, cross-sectional, retrospective study design was conducted. Data were collected from 385 full-time Saudi undergraduate students at Taibah University. They aged between 18-24 years old. Students were asked about their breakfast, fast food, and soft drink consumption and their daily number of meals. Information about their gender, residence in hostels, and smoking status were obtained. Grade point average (GPA) was used to assess academic performance. BMI was also calculated. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS software program version 20. Results: More females (n = 290; 75.3%) than males were included. High academic performers were non-smokers (P < 0.0005) and didn't stay in hostels (P = 0.026). BMI associated negatively with academic performance. Females had better academic performance (95%) compared to males (58%, P <0.0005), GPA (2.72 vs 3.53, P <0.0005 respectively), lower number of meals (Mean: 2.31 vs 1.99), and low prevalence of overweight/obesity (43% vs 30%). Conclusion: Nutrition education programs targeting Taibah University students are to be developed to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and normal body weight.

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