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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 14164-14176; doi:10.3390/ijerph121114164

Nutritional Correlates of Perceived Stress among University Students in Egypt

1
Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Care, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK
2
Unit for Health Promotion Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Vej 9-10, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: María M. Morales Suárez-Varela
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 2 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 November 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children, Adolescents and Nutrition)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [215 KB, uploaded 6 November 2015]

Abstract

Food intake choice and amount might change with stress. However, this has not been examined among Egyptian students. We examined students’ stress levels, its correlation with their consumption of a range of food groups, and adherence to dietary guidelines. A cross sectional survey (N = 2810 undergraduates at 11 faculties at Assiut University, Egypt) assessed two composite food intake pattern scores (one unhealthy: sweets, cakes, snacks; and a healthy one: fruits and vegetables), and two indicators of healthy eating (subjective importance of healthy eating; and dietary guideline adherence index). Multiple linear regression tested the associations of stress with two food intake pattern scores and two indicators of healthy eating, controlling for six potential confounders for the sample and separately for males and females. Higher perceived stress score was significantly associated with less frequent food intake of fruit and vegetables in males and females. The association was more pronounced among males than in females. No significant association was observed between the sweets cakes and snacks score and stress. Of the two indicators of healthy eating, the dietary guideline adherence index was not associated with stress, while the subjective judgment of healthy eating was consistently negatively associated with stress. Stress related decreased-eating was present. Recent studies suggest that stress could be associated with either decreased or increased eating depending on the study population, food group, and type of stressor. Further research is necessary to understand stress related over- and undereating. View Full-Text
Keywords: stress and food intake; student health; healthy eating; dietary guidelines adherence stress and food intake; student health; healthy eating; dietary guidelines adherence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

El Ansari, W.; Berg-Beckhoff, G. Nutritional Correlates of Perceived Stress among University Students in Egypt. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 14164-14176.

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