King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia
Title: Perceptions of nutrition and healthy lifestyle among women in Saudi Arabia
Biography: Dania Al-Jaroudi
Objective: This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate perceptions of nutrition and healthy lifestyle among women in Saudi Arabia. Research methods & Procedures: Between May and October 2012, 1000 women attending preconception or antenatal clinics at King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, completed a voluntary questionnaire regarding eating habits, nutritional intake and physical activity. Results: The majority of participants were Saudi Arabian (95%), married (97%) and pregnant (73%). The mean weight of participants was 75 kg. Forty-five percent of participants consumed three meals per day, 70% did not eat breakfast, 48% ate dessert every day, 74% did not partake in any exercise and 62% took vitamins. Only 54% of the participants read the ingredients on food labeling. The majority (78%) of participants believed that pregnant women were required to double their food intake and 59% did not think that pregnant women had specific dietary requirements. Fifty-nine percent of the participants also believed that a healthy diet consisted of regular meals of fruit, vegetables, proteins and grains and 60% believed that the five food groups were fat, protein, grains, dairy products and fruits and vegetables. The vast majority (98%) of participants wanted to learn more about healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Conclusions: The majority of women who attended the preconception or antenatal clinics both required and wanted further education on healthy living, particularly around food choices and exercise. Providing women with prenatal education regarding health and nutrition could potentially improve their child’s future nutritional status.