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Alsolami, Ghandurah, Jastaniah, Faruqui, AlShamrani, AlAydross, AlGhanmi, and Tashkandi: Socioeconomic determinants of dietary habits among a sample of families in Jeddah

Introduction: Unhealthy dietary practices are a major health concern. This study investigated the relationship between gender, mother’s education level, age, employment status, ethnicity and residential area in relation to the family’s dietary habits.

Objectives: To investigate the relationship between the socioeconomic independent variables (gender, mother’s education level, age, employment status, ethnicity, household income and residential area, i.e. regular/slum areas) in relation to the family’s dietary habits and dependent variables [family’s regular intake of breakfast, frequency of main meals per day, frequency of snacks per day, fruits and vegetables intake per day, fast food intake and body mass index (BMI)] using a semiquantitative method.

Methods: A randomized cross-sectional survey was performed, based on cluster sampling and utilizing a digital georeferenced map of Jeddah. Data were recorded by interview using a questionnaire.

Results: From the 380 subjects, more than half were overweight or obese. Half of the subjects ate breakfast regularly, and almost all consumed ≤ three meals and/or snacks daily. Eighty per cent of them always ate fast food. Regarding intake of breakfast, the strongest predictor was gender (P = 0.025). Regarding fast food intake, the most powerful predictor was mother’s job (P = 0.007), then gender (P = 0.015). The most powerful predictor of BMI was ethnicity (P = 0.005), then income (P = 0.014), then gender (P = 0.039). A very weak negative association was found between residential area and eating fruits and vegetables among adult offspring (P = 0.029), and male offspring (P = 0.025). A weak negative association was found between the mother’s age and eating fruits and vegetables among children (P = 0.012).

Conclusions: Food intake patterns are governed by gender, family’s income. Mother’s age, employment status and educational level also played a role.

Acknowledgements: Professor Suhad Bahijri for supervising this project.




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