Food choice and meal consumption pattern among undergraduate students in two universities in Southwestern Nigeria

Nutr Health. 2012 Oct;21(4):233-45. doi: 10.1177/0260106013510994.


The food choices and meal consumption patterns of undergraduate students from two Nigerian universities, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) and Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAU) (n = 402; 199 male and 203 female; overall mean age 23) were studied. The result indicated that 60% of the students (58% male and 62% female) consumed the recommended minimum number of servings of cereal, 50% of the males and 35% of the females in the carbohydrate category while 35% of the males and 42% of the females consumed enough from the meat group. More female students (40%) consumed adequate quantities of fruits and vegetables than their male counterparts (20%) while the consumption of milk and milk substitutes was low (10% male and 25% female). Most students ate twice a day substituting snacks for the third meal. More female students (48%) exceeded their energy requirement than their male counterparts (28%) while 60%, 85% and 40% did not meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein, calcium and iron respectively. Body Mass Index (BMI) classification indicated that 29% of the students were overweight, 6% were obese while 13% of the male students were underweight. The unhealthy eating habits of Nigerian university students seemed to be a reflection of poor funding.

Keywords: Food choice; Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA); consumption pattern; food groups.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Choice Behavior
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food / classification*
  • Food Preferences* / ethnology
  • Food Preferences* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals / physiology*
  • Nigeria
  • Nutritive Value
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates