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Aims: To determine the snack consumption pattern of adults and the effect of consumption of certain snacks on the health status of adults in the University of Calabar.
Study design: Cross-sectional survey.
Place and Duration of Study: University of Calabar, Calabar - Nigeria. June to July, 2017.
Methodology: After a multi-staged random sampling technique, a cross-sectional survey was carried out on 400 adult respondents using a well-structured questionnaire. Food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and 24hour dietary recall were also administered to the respondents. The data obtained from the survey instruments were analysed with the aid of Microsoft excel. For the dietary intake assessment, Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) ‘Guidelines for Measuring Household and Individual Dietary Diversity’ was used to calculate individual’s dietary diversity score (DDS) before recording.
Results: It was observed that 84% of the respondents skipped meals and breakfast was the most skipped meal followed by lunch. Most people (46%) skipped breakfast because they left early for work while majority who skipped lunch did so because they had no time for food at work (53%). Only 8.6% of the respondents did not eat snacks, and most of those who consumed snacks did so because they preferred snacks to food (32%). The most commonly consumed snacks among the respondents was pastries (36.5%), followed by biscuits (25.7%) while the least consumed snacks were vegetables (1%) followed by sweets and gums (1.1%). Consequently, pastries contributed the most snack calories to the study population.
Conclusion: Most people skip meals; and snacks serve as a substitute for such skipped meals. Only few people frequently consume healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Most people were discovered to eat pastries as snacks and these pastries (such as cakes and pies) are highly processed foods which could increase the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in their consumers.
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