“Motives Underlying Healthy and Unhealthy Eating Among University Students in Mauritius”
Journal Name: Current Nutrition & Food Science
Author(s): Ruvina Seebun, Fawzi M. Mahomoodally, Anwar H. Subratty, Deerajen Ramasawmy.
Panoply of influences operates to shape particular food choices. Thus, probing into the drivers of people’s healthy food choices is primordial to addressing the public health issue of obesity. The aim of the current study was to investigate the factors that influence University students’ choice for healthy and unhealthy foods. For the cross-sectional study, data using a structured questionnaire were collected from a stratified sample of 370 students at the University of Mauritius. Both descriptive and inferential statistical tools namely factor analysis, Pearson correlations and independent sample t-tests were used for data analysis. Choice decisions were affected by various factors. Students who attached significantly more importance to health, weight control and natural content ate more healthily as opposed to those who were influenced by the social & physical factor. Decisions to choose foods varied significantly with respect to gender. Girls considered factors such as health, weight control, convenience and attitude to be more important and ate more healthily as opposed to boys (p < 0.05). Health benefits derived from foods were perceived as the predominant food motive for students believed that their current diets were nutritionally adequate. These results are salient for health professionals and suggest that interventions should be geared to increase awareness about the nutritional inadequacy of diets consumed by University students and should specifically target boys. To the best of one’s knowledge, this is the only explicit research on food motives of University of Mauritius students.