Food habits, socioeconomic status and body mass index among premenopausal and post-menopausal women in Mauritius

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Abstract

Background

Although many health disparities arise as a result of socioeconomic inequalities, less is known about the diet quality of women after menopause. The present study aimed to determine the factors affecting food habits and body mass index (BMI) among premenopausal and post-menopausal Mauritian working women.

Methods

The study was conducted as a cross-sectional survey in different workplaces located in the nine districts of Mauritius. Mauritian women (n = 400; 215 premenopausal, 185 post-menopausal) were recruited using stratified random sampling. Participants completed a self-reported questionnaire comprising a food frequency questionnaire previously constructed and used to address dietary guidelines that assess the intake of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, cereals, high- and low-fat protein sources, fats and sweetened beverages, as well as questions aiming to elicit socioeconomic profile, menopausal status, physical activity level and demographic data. Height, weight, waist and hip circumferences were measured. An independent sample t-test, chi-squared test and one-way analysis of variance were used for the statistical analyses.

Results

The mean dietary guideline score was significantly higher for post-menopausal than premenopausal women, (P = 0.017). Each socioeconomic status (SES) category of post-menopausal women also demonstrated a higher dietary guideline score than that of premenopausal women (P > 0.05). A high BMI was significantly associated with a low SES of participants (P = 0.042) and post-menopausal stage (P = 0.001).

Conclusions

Low SES and post-menopausal stage are risk factors for obesity among female workers in Mauritius. Although post-menopausal women ate a better diet, their mean BMI was higher than that of premenopausal women.

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