The Adherence of Singaporean Students in Different Educational Institutions to National Food-Based Dietary Guidelines

Mia Eng Tay, Emma Foster, Leo Stevenson, Iain Brownlee

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Abstract

There are currently limited data on the dietary habits of young Singaporeans. This study aimed to evaluate the adherence of 17–21 year olds attending different educational institutions using a novel diet-quality scoring method. Dietary data were collected using a single weekday 24 h dietary recall in a cross section of 536 Singaporeans aged 17–21 years. An 11 category scoring system (0.0–100.0) was used to define adherence to food based dietary guidelines. Demographic and self-reported data were also collected via a questionnaire, BMI status, and using Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis (non-parametric) tests, with post-hoc Bonferroni-corrected tests. The median diet quality score was 48.5 (IQR 40.5, 56.4) for this cohort, with component scores for “Total fruit”, “Whole fruit”, “Total vegetables”, “Dark green leafy & orange vegetables”, “Whole grains”, “Dairy products”, and “Sodium” frequently scoring the minimum value. Median diet quality scores were statistically different for groups by ethnic origin (p < 0.001) and by educational institution (p < 0.001). Intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains is minimal, while sodium intake is frequently too high in young Singaporeans. Differences across ethnic groups and types of educational institutions suggest the need for targeted interventions to improve dietary habits in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2995
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNutrients
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020

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