MEAL TAKING BEHAVIOUR AND ITS ASSOCIATED FACTORS AMONG MEDICAL STUDENTS IN A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN MALAYSIA
Background: Poor meal taking behaviour (MTB) is a critical public health issue which may lead to poor health and economic burden among people. Food preference starts early and continue to adulthood.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among randomly selected 304 medical students at a university in Malaysia, with the aim to determine their MTB and the factors influencing these behaviours. Descriptive and analytic statistics were used to analyse the data collected using pre-tested and validated questionnaire. Chi square test was used to determine the association and significant level is set at p<0.05.
Result: The response rate of was 83.2%. Most of respondents are 21 year old (29.6%), female (74.7%), Malay (60.1%), Muslim (60.9%) and from high socio-economic status family (60.1%). The percentage of respondents who have good and poor meal taking behaviour are almost similar, at 49.4% and 50.6%, respectively. Age, race and religion and source of food taken for breakfast were found to have statistically significant association with good meal taking behaviour.
Conclusion: Students should be encouraged to have their meals in a proper time, with good quality and quantity of foods while taking consideration of their food preference. Health education can play a part in increasing the proportion of students with good MTB.
Keywords: Meal taking behaviour, medical student, university in Malaysia