Meal skipping habits and nutritional status among Ghanaian students living in Korea

Monica E. Dzatse, Eun-kyung Kim, Hyesook Kim, Hyejin Kim, Aswathy Vijayakumar, Namsoo Chang

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Abstract

Purpose: The consistent rise in the number of foreign students in Korea demands an accurate and detailed investigation into their dietary practices and nutritional status. For these international students, assimilation into new cultures can be stressful. The influence this process may have on dietary behaviors as well as overall health cannot be overlooked. Methods: The researchers in this study sought to investigate the nutritional status and dietary practices of Ghanaian students studying in Korea. A total of 81 Ghanaian male students with an average age of 29.4 ± 4.0 years were sampled between May and June 2016. Investigations were carried out on the general characteristics of the participants, their daily food and nutrient intakes using a 24-h dietary recall method, meal skipping practices, and the nutritional quality of their diets based on their meal skipping habits. Results: The study revealed that the daily nutrient intake of subjects did not fully meet the daily recommended nutrient intake (RNI) established by Ghanaian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), particularly for energy, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B2 requirements. The Nutrient Adequacy Ratio (NAR) for calcium was very low, posing a deficiency risk to the participants. Meal skipping practices among participants changed significantly after arriving in Korea. The study also compared the diet quality indicators (Nutrient Adequacy Ratio and Mean Adequacy Ratio) of those who skipped meals ≥ 7 times/week with those who skipped meals < 7 times/week. Participants who skipped meals ≥ 7 times/week were shown to have lower dietary intakes of vitamins B1 and B2 than those who skipped meals < 7 times/week. Conclusion: Ultimately, the study found that meal skipping among Ghanaian students was common, and their daily nutrient intakes did not meet the set dietary standards. Those who skipped meals ≥ 7 times/week had lower dietary intakes of vitamins B1 and B2 than those who skipped meals < 7 times/week. Based on our study findings, we recommend that nutrition education should be organized for the Ghanaian student community in Korea using our results as a template to draw up a nutrition program that is culturally appropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition and Health
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Ghanaian Students
  • Meal Skipping
  • Food and Nutrient Intake
  • Nutritional Status

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