Assessing the Healthiness of Physical Environment and Food Business at the Female Section of King Abdulaziz University

Elham Aljaaly


Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise                                                                                                       

ISSN:2518-6590           Published on 31st August, 2017


Background: Research has demonstrated that eating patterns are strongly influenced by the physical environment and students are more likely to eat foods that are available and easily accessible. Taking the responsibility for running university meals should be based on a healthy foundation.

Methods: In this study, we conducted a survey on the physical environment and food business at the King Abdulaziz University’s Female Section in Saudi Arabia (KAU). We visited 11 food premises “including the main cafeteria” at the female section aiming to assess its equipment, hygiene status and the healthiness' of food/beverage options available and served during the academic year 2013-2014 using a Nutrient Profiling (NP) model. Results: Of the analysed food and beverage items (n=191), 74.3% (n=142) were classified as high in saturated fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) with a low rate of fruit and vegetable’ items. Some food items did not meet the criteria for the NP analysis and they were considered as unclassified items. All food premises were adequately equipped and some food premises did not achieve the general requirements for food hygiene that is internationally recognized, while the main cafeteria of the KAU’s Female Section achieved the requirements of food hygiene. Conclusion: A novel aspect of the study is the objective assessment of the available and served food and drink items at KAU using the UK FSA NP system. It is anticipated that the findings of this research will serve as an impetus for providing appropriate nutrition services for female students at KAU.



Physical Environment; Food Premises; Nutrient Profiling; Food Hygiene; HFSS Food

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