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Title: Food habits, nutritional status and disease patterns in Saudi Arabia
Author: Al-Othaimeen, Abdulaziz Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0001 3407 8090
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1991
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This is a descriptive study to investigate the Saudi population's food habits, changes in food practices that have taken place as a result of the economic upheaval, and correlate these food habits with nutritional and health status and disease. This will serve as a useful tool in establishing associations between food habit and some diseases. It would also be helpful in setting up nutrient requirements for the people and contribute to efforts of health authorities in improving the people's nutritional status and general health. A total of 714 patients and 291 sitters between birth to 90 years of age, both male and female were surveyed. Anthropometric measurements were recorded and food habits were investigated using a questionnaire. Personal data information concerning socioeconomic status (SES) of both patients and sitters were also noted. Patients were also surveyed for their food intake using a diet history, 24-hour recall, and one-day diet record. Their disease diagnosis and biochemical status were extracted from medical records. SES and anthropometric measurements of patients were compared with sitters using t-tests. Anthropometric measurements of patients and sitters were compared with the US NCHS standards using contingency table analyses. Correlation between patients' SES, food habit and disease was tested using chi-square tests. Patients' nutrient intakes of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals were compared with the US recommended dietary allowances (RDA). Biochemcial measures of albumin and hemoglobin were compared with standards. The Saudis surveyed were middle-class. The middle and high classes attended parties and ate outside more frequently than the low class group. Use of fat increased with increasing social position. Lamb, chicken, and liver were used by all. Beef, shrimps and cold cuts were consumed more by the high social group. Raw vegetables, are eaten more by the high SES than the lower SES group. Fresh fruits, mostly dates, are eaten by all socioeconomic groups. . Arabic bread and rice formed the bulk of starches. Milk and laban (buttermilk) were consumed daily, tea is drunk three times a day, and arabic coffee (more by the high SES) three times a day. Sweets were consumed after meals and "junk" foods were eaten (more by the high SES group). Socioeconomic status was found to be significantly correlated with having neoplasms (cancers), pregnancy (obesity and gestational diabetes), and circulatory diseases. This was attributable to "lifestyle factors". Correlational analysis between cancers and food/food habit showed a strong positive association with animal fat. Circulatory diseases were positively correlated with "attendance at parties", raw vegetables, sweet biscuits, chocolates, and cold cuts. Coffee consumption was negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease. High consumption of sweets and carbohydrate-rich foods were positively correlated with pregnancy-related diseases. No food/food habits were positively associated with endocrine disorders. Negative correlations were found with olive oil, candies and cakes, laban, tea with sugar, and chocolates. It is possible that diet instructions being done in hospitals have some success so patients try to stay away from offending foods. Weight for height measurements from birth up to 14 years were not significantly different from the NCHS standard, except for the girls aged GT 10 - LE 14 years and adult men. Teen-age boys aged GT 14-LE 18 had normal weight for height. From 18 years of age, the men had weights for height that were significantly lower than standard. The women's weights were within normal range after age 14 years. Height for age of children up to 14 years except GT 10 -LE 14 females were within NCHS standard. After 14 years, height for age were significantly lower than standard. All nutrients except energy for the adult males met the RDA's. Another exception was significantly lower intakes of iron by the LE 1 age group which be attributed to the lower- iron content of milk and and reserve stores, and inadequate suplements. Weight for height for the male adults that was significantly lower than standard was a reflection of low energy intakes for this same group. There were no differences between hemoglobin and serum albumin values of patients and the standard for all age and sex groups. The result of this study could be utilized to improve educational materials for teaching patients. Also, more reliable and valid methods of collecting and analyzing data for nutritional assessments in the Saudi culture may evolve.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Food technology & food microbiology