Dietary Diversity, Body Mass Index and Haemoglobin Concentration of Health Students in a Public University in Ghana

Matilda Asante, Candy Ntiamoah, Samuel A. Sackar, Eunice Nortey, Portia Nkumsah-Riverson, Freda D. Intiful


Background: Tertiary students are known to have poor dietary habits and at risk of iron deficiency anaemia. The aim of this study was to assess the dietary diversity of Allied Health students and determine its relationship with haemoglobin (Hb) concentration and body mass index (BMI). Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out among 96 health students in the University of Ghana. A stratified systematic sampling technique was used to select the participants and a structured questionnaire used to obtain demographic and socioeconomic information. Weight and height were measured, and BMI determined. Dietary diversity (DD) was assessed using the WHO/FAO guidelines. Haemoglobin concentration was measured using a portable hemocue 301+ analyser. Linear regression was used to determine the relationship between the DDS and Hb concentration, and BMI of the students. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.Results: Mean age and BMI of the students were 21.8±1.7 years and 22.7±4.3kg/m2 respectively. The mean DDS and Hb concentration were 4.68±1.40 and 12.6±1.3g/dl respectively. More than half (58%) of the students had moderate DD. Approximately forty percent (40.6%) of the students were anaemic. There was a strong positive correlation between BMI and DDS (r= +0.810, p= 0.434).  Conclusion: These findings suggest a high prevalence of anaemia among the students, with half of them having a moderate DDS.  There is a need for regular screening to identify and treat students with low haemoglobin concentrations. Although not significant there was a positive correlation between Hb concentration, BMI and Dietary Diversity score.

Keywords: dietary diversity, haemoglobin concentration, body mass index

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/12-16-01

Publication date:August 31st 2022

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