An evaluation of the dietary habits of English programme medical students in their first year of studies

Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Sroka, Edyta Dzięciołowska-Baran, Jacek Szczurowski, Magdalena Szałowska-Bojarun


Introduction: Human nutrition depends on many factors. Cultural practices, socio-psychological and economic factors play important roles in development of correct nutrition patterns. Eating habits are formed most strongly during childhood and adolescence. When young people begin university study, their way of life changes significantly. In this study group, not only do the necessities of independent living and food preparation occur, but also a change the country of residence.

The aim of the study was to investigate the dietary habits of medical students of the English programme.

Materials and methods: The material consisted of data collected from an anonymous survey distributed among 1st year students of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (28 men and 52 women). The study used a questionnaire consisting of open and multi-choice questions concerning the anthropometric data of subjects and principles of nutrition. Data were analysed

Results: Obesity was generally not observed in the group of examined students. In most cases body mass index (BMI) remained in the normal range. Cases of obesity were observed only among the men. There were no significant differences between the men and women in terms of the regularity of meals. About 50% of the study population declared a regular consumption of 3 main meals a day. Significantly more women than men followed slimming diets. We did not observe significant differences between men and women in terms of activities concerned with controlling weight. Significantly more women than men had fruits and vegetables every day. Men more often consumed sweets, coffee and fast-food. Analysis of the results showed abnormal patterns in the quality and quantity of meals.

Conclusions: It is essential to introduce measures in the field of nutrition education into the curriculum in order to shape appropriate patterns of healthy nutrition among future doctors and thus prevent lifestyle diseases caused by inappropriate dietary habits.


nutrition; lifestyle; health promotion

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