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Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute

Journal of Health and Medical Sciences

ISSN 2622-7258

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open access

Published: 30 January 2023

Food Habits/Preferences among Adults in a Tertiary Healthcare Institute

Mandreker Bahall

University of the West Indies

journal of social and political sciences
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Pages: 5-16

Keywords: Food Preferences, Food Habits, Public Health Environment, Healthy Food Lifestyles, Sociological Food Interventions


Background: The lack of local produce and the abundance of cheap and easily accessible fast food have led to an unfavorable food environment in Trinidad and Tobago, which has encouraged unhealthy eating. This study explored food habits and preferences among adult patients at a public tertiary healthcare institute. Methods: Patients were selected from adult medical and cardiac wards of public healthcare facilities using convenience sampling. The inclusion criteria were consenting adults who could communicate freely. The exclusion criteria included confused or critically ill patients. Patients were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire, which included eight commonly used categories of the diet (fruits, vegetables, sugar, salt, “low-fats,” carbohydrates, meat/protein, and wheat/grains). Furthermore, the variables were recoded as 1 = positive food choice and 0 = negative food choice. Descriptive and statistical analyses were performed. Results: Most patients based their main meals on starchy foods (89.9%), followed by high salt intake (75%) and high meat (72.4%). Approximately half (45.5%) of the population preferred fewer vegetables, and approximately one-third (35.1%) did not prefer “low-fat products.” There were 3 to 4 food risks that revealed differences by age, sex and ethnicity with greater occurrence in the over 50s, males and Indo-Trinidadian. At least 26.6% of the patients ate larger meals at night, and 61.5% admitted skipping breakfast at least once a week. Conclusion: Negative food habits and preferences are prevalent and generally homogeneous across subgroups except by age, sex and ethnicity which show higher occurrence of food risks in the over 50s, males and Indo-Trinidadian.


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