Dietary Patterns and Metabolic Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease among University Students in Ghana

Aaron Opoku Amankwaa, Reginald Annan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Dietary intake is a strong modifiable index for Metabolic Risk Factors (MRF) for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Poor dietary intake has been shown among Ghanaian university students but little is known about how that is related to MRF. This study examined dietary patterns and MRF among KNUST students. Data were collected from 66 randomly selected undergraduate students (31 males and 35 females) from 18-27 years old. Dietary intake was assessed using an 81 item food frequency questionnaire and patterns of dietary intake by K-means cluster analysis. The dietary patterns (clusters) were related to metabolic risk components including fasting blood lipids, fasting blood sugar, blood pressure and waist circumference. In this population, 34.3% of females and 9.7% males had low HDL; 22.9% females and 9.7% males had high LDL; and 11.4% females and 6.5% males had high total cholesterol. Three unique dietary (clusters) patterns were identified, termed: “broad”, “convenience” and “ordinary”. The “broad” cluster, characterised by a varied dietary intake of most food groups and good intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with more physically active (41.9%) participants than the others. The “ordinary” cluster, characterized by whole grains, meat and dairy products but low intake of fruits and vegetables, had more participants who drank alcohol (38.9%) and ate out (32.9%). The “convenience”, characterised by very little to no fruits and vegetables intake, frequent skipping of breakfast (46.2%) and high beverage consumption was associated with higher serum triglyceride (p = 0.021) and total cholesterol (p = 0.005) among male participants. Between the three, the broad cluster seemed the best regarding types and frequencies of foods consumed and association with MRFs whereas the convenience cluster seemed the worst. In conclusion, our findings showed significant prevalence of MRF for CVDs in this young population and distinct dietary patterns, which were associated with these risk factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalAsian Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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