Nutritional status assessment of the technical and vocational students' community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has developed a special feeding program for the students at its institutions. The effects of this program on the nutritional and health status of these students have not been evaluated yet, and since no published dietary research has been performed on Technical and Vocational young adult male students, the present work was undertaken to investigate the nutritional status of this community in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After a pilot survey, it was decided to use a selfcompleted questionnaire combined with personal interview to investigate the nutritional status of 690 students randomly selected from the study population. Dietary data was collected by two methods: usual weekly intakes "diet history" and actual daily intakes "diet diary". The nutrient intakes were calculated using the unilever Dietary Analysis Program (UNIDAP). The statistical Package for the social Science (SPSS/PC+) was employed to analyse the data; statistical significance of relationships between certain sets of data was determined by chi-square analysis. Some general factors affecting the nutritional status of these students were identified, their nutritional habits and attitudes were investigated, and the average daily intakes of energy, the macronutrients, and selected micronutrients were calculated. The main results of this study shows that the majority of the study population are adolescent, moderately active individuals, and have lower than the standard range of the Body Mass Index; anaemia is the most stated health problem; meal-skipping and eating between meals are common habits amongst the students. Regarding nutrient intake, there was an energy, polyunsaturated fat, and vitamin C deficiency; adequate intake of saturated fat, dietary fibre, retinol, and zinc; more than adequate intake of protein, total fat, cholesterol, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, and iron. Recommendations are given which aim to improve the nutrition of technical and vocational students.