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Consumption and knowledge of fast/junk foods among medical students, Mansoura University, Egypt

Abdel-Hady Abel Fattah El-Gilany, Doaa Mohamed Abdel-Hady, Randa El Damanawy.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of fast foods (FFs) consumption among medical students and highlight its circumstances, and to reveal their knowledge about the health effects of fast food.
Subjects and methods: A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted in Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt throughout three months in 2014 included 908 medical students chosen through the stratified cluster sampling with proportion allocation. A self-administered questionnaire in Arabic was used to collect data that include socioeconomic characteristics of their families; their habits of fast food intake, and the knowledge on health effects of fast food.
Results: More than half of students (51.0%) prefer FF to save time, more tasty and save money. About two-thirds of them ate FF at least once during the last week. The independent factors associated with FF consumption are; being in the clinical years (AOR=1.7), family of rural residence (AOR= 1.99) and belonging to high socioeconomic classes (AOR= 3.0). The majority (64%) of the students took their lunch as fast food meal and most of them drank carbonated beverages (79.8%). The majority (94.3%) of the study participants knew the hazards of fast food on health.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of fast/junk food preference and consumption by tomorrow’s doctors is a cause of concern and thus preventive efforts and more nutrition information and provision of nutrition education should be included in medical curricula.

Key words: Eating habits-Fast food-Junk food-Socio-economic status-Medical students

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