Sex-related dietary changes of Portuguese university students after migration to London, UK

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Abstract

Aim:

To assess the changes in eating habits and food choice motives of Portuguese university students after migration to London, according to sex.

Methods:

Fifty-five Portuguese university students (52.7% female) from 12 randomly selected London universities underwent a face-to-face interview. Trained interviewers administered a structured questionnaire comprising questions on socio-demographic characteristics, the frequency of consumption of selected food and beverage items, and the motives underlying food choices regarding Portugal and London practices.

Results:

Some dietary changes occurred in both male and female Portuguese students such as a decrease in the intake of red meat, fish, pastries and vegetable soup, and an increase in the intake of hamburger and tea with milk. Men also reported a decrease in the intake of cheese, dairy desserts, eggs, smoked sausages, ham, sweet spreads, potatoes, rice and fresh fruit, and an increase in the intake of bacon. For women, the consumption frequency of chips and chocolate increased and of vegetables decreased. Regarding food choice, the motives related to food purchasing and preparation became more important after migration to London for both sexes. The importance of nutritional information for women and weight control for men also increased after migration.

Conclusions:

A shift from a Mediterranean diet towards a more Western diet was observed after migration. Men were more likely to change their dietary habits whereas women were more likely to maintain. Food choice in London was greatly influenced by food purchasing and preparation.

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