Nutrient intake and food consumption among medical students in Greece assessed during a Clinical Nutrition course.Int J Food Sci Nutr 2004; 55(1):17-26IJ
The objective of this study was to determine nutrient intake and food consumption patterns among medical students at the University of Crete, Greece. As part of the Clinical Nutrition course from 1989 to 2001, a total of 951 third-year medical students (500 male, 451 female) aged 22+/-2 years underwent dietary interview, during which individual 24-h dietary recalls were taken. The students also completed a questionnaire on smoking habits, and anthropometric measurements were performed. The Mann-Whitney test was applied to assess differences in nutrient and food group intake between lower and higher fat eaters. Analysis of covariance was used to study relationships between nutrient intakes and tobacco use, adjusting for gender, age, and body mass index. The mean daily energy intake was 2493 kcal (10437 kJ) for males and 1675 kcal (7012 kJ) for females. The contribution of total fat to energy intake was 40% in each gender. Lower fat eaters (</=34.3% of total energy) had higher intakes of fiber (P<0.01), vitamin C (P<0.01) and fruits (P<0.05), and a lower consumption of red meat (P<0.01) than students in the upper fat quartile (>/=46.0% of total energy). Smokers had higher intakes of energy (P<0.05) and saturated fatty acids (P<0.01), and lower intakes of fiber (P<0.001), folate (P<0.05) and vitamin C (P<0.001) than non-smokers/ex-smokers. Our results indicate a need for Greek medical students to improve their dietary and health habits. Dietary assessment could be used to enhance nutrition education in medical schools.