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The Diet and Lifestyle of Tertiary Level Students through the Lens of Food Literacy

By: Manita Muna Hasan  

Developing nations are experiencing a shift from underweight to overweight as diets come to resemble more closely to those of affluent countries. Bangladesh, a low-income country, is potentially vulnerable to an advancing wave of overweight/obesity due to the high prevalence of overweight/obesity in younger age groups. Tertiary level students, a younger age group, who are essential to country’s continued social and economic progress, prefer fast food over the traditional meal which is a great public health concern. Although researchers widely discussed the prevalence of overweight/obesity and food consumption patterns, there is insufficient understanding of students’ food experience, food-related skills, and attitudes. For the purpose of obtaining a full-fledged understanding of food-related issues, this qualitative study explores how students manage their food after transitioning to independent living, in the context of food literacy. The purpose of this paper is to offer several insights about components of food literacy that are significant to address key food problems of tertiary level students. The paper specifically explores the attributes of food literacy that need to be acquired by students to improve their diet and lifestyle. It also collects ideas from students to find out the preferable sources of acquiring food skills. The findings show that food literacy can aid in coping with life challenges and avoiding diet-related health risks. The study encourages the inclusion of components of food literacy in interventions for the development of effective and tailored programs targeted at dealing with the shift from underweight to overweight in developing countries.

Bangladesh, Food Literacy, Nutrition, Public Health, University Students
Food, Nutrition, and Health
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Ms. Manita Muna Hasan

Postgraduate Researcher, Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Bangladesh Home Economics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Manita has an aptitude for Qualitative research. Her interest in research grew while supporting the PhD thesis of Associate Professor Sittul Muna Hassan of Jagannath University from 2011 to 2016. She is a postgraduate researcher of the Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Bangladesh Home Economics, University of Dhaka. She is currently engaged in writing publishable manuscripts from her thesiswork with her supervisor Associate Professor Shajada Akter Khanam. She is trying to obtain indepth understandings of people's dietary practices, food skills and attitudes to improve public understanding of nutrition for preventing diet related future health risks. Manita presented her first paper on the occasion of 1st Global Conference in Heath, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, on June 23rd 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. The paper is also accepted for publication at the International Journal of Contemporary Research in Health and Life Sciences.