Bad eating habits linked to a lack of knowledge

A balanced and varied diet allows the body to develop harmoniously and maintain good health, which leads to the prevention of certain chronic diseases. However, bad eating habits continue to spread around the world, and particularly in Morocco, where the change in lifestyle of the population inevitably leads to a change in diet. But while Moroccans have adopted a traditional diet based on grains and legumes, vegetables and fruits, it is clear that they are gradually moving towards a diet richer in animal products.

Since nutrition is a public health priority, eight Moroccan researchers from Hassan II University in Casablanca have addressed the issue by conducting a study. They therefore assessed the knowledge of dietary recommendations for specific staple foods with the aim of determining the factors related to the dietary habits and knowledge of the adult population of the city of Casablanca.

To do this, they conducted a survey among 731 participants from the white capital. Data collection using a questionnaire with sociodemographic characteristics, food frequency and questions to assess nutritional knowledge. The random and complete sample was based on the 2014 national census and data provided by the High Commission for Planning (HCP). The general characteristics of the sample of the study population showed that of the 719 subjects, 373 (51.9%) were male and 346 (48.1%) were female. In addition, the overall prevalence of overweight and obesity was 29.6% and 21.0%, respectively. The researchers add that obesity was much higher in women than in men (35.0% vs. 8.0%).

Raising awareness of solid nutritional knowledge

So it turns out that there is a “close” connection between a lack of knowledge and a bad eating habit. “People who did not eat according to dietary recommendations, particularly red meat, chicken, and fish, reported incorrect beliefs about those recommendations,” explains the Metabolic Review study, published June 21 in the journal Clinical Nutrition . “Adjusting for a number of socio-demographic variables shows that this was observed regardless of the age of the respondents,” the same source continues.

“One of the main causes of nutritional problems is a lack of nutritional knowledge, which leads to poor eating habits. Knowledge is one of the factors necessary to change and improve eating behavior and subsequently establish a healthy diet to prevent disease,” the researchers emphasize. For the latter, “nutrition education can improve nutritional knowledge and practices”.

“Studies that assess knowledge and its association with nutritional behaviors or attitudes can contribute to situational analysis by helping to identify existing nutritional knowledge, attitudes and habits to better understand how people eat and other factors affecting their eating habits can influence. And they can therefore provide useful information and contribute to the effective planning of targeted nutrition programs and projects,” the study adds.

The authors believe that “positively influencing food intake and promoting healthy habits is a challenge for both developed and developing countries.” “Our results showed an association between poor nutritional knowledge and poor dietary habits, further suggesting that the study population should benefit from education and awareness campaigns to develop strong nutritional literacy,” they argue. “Knowledge cannot be looked at alone, but it is certainly one of the very important factors affecting nutrition,” they conclude.

Leave a Comment