EVALUATION OF NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF UNITED ARAB EMIRATES UNIVERSITY FEMALE STUDENTS
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity, the widespread diseases and the food consumption patterns among UAE university female students. Height and weight were measured in a sample of 400 female students aged 18-25 years. A self administrated questionnaire addressing food habits, food consumption, sports practice and disease states was completed by each student. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated for each subject. WHO classification was used for defining underweight (BMI30 kg/m2). The results indicate that<br>the prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity were 13 %, 19.4% and 6.7% respectively.The widespread self reported diseases in descending order of magnitude were anemia (19%), food allergy (4.8%), hypertension (2.8%) and diabetes (1%). 62% of the students did not practice any kind of sports. Food habits results showed that 44.8% of the respondents did not take breakfast, 34.9% took fast food at least once a day, and 52,3% took only 1 to 2 meals /day. Results of food consumption showed that 54.4% of the students consumed a diet low in cereals, 51.5% consumed a diet low in vegetables, 49.5% consumed a diet low in fruits, and 46.7 % of the students consumed a diet high in fat. Results also noted a statistically significant association between consumption of cereals and fruits and BMI classes. Therefore, there is a necessity to develop a nutrition education program for UAE students in order to help them change their food habits and avoid the negative health consequences of being overweight or underweight.