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Diet in Saudi Arabia: findings from a nationally representative survey

  • Maziar Moradi-Lakeh (a1), Charbel El Bcheraoui (a1), Ashkan Afshin (a1), Farah Daoud (a1), Mohammad A AlMazroa (a2), Mohammad Al Saeedi (a2), Mohammed Basulaiman (a2), Ziad A Memish (a2), Abdullah A Al Rabeeah (a2) and Ali H Mokdad (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

No recent original studies on the pattern of diet are available for Saudi Arabia at the national level. The present study was performed to describe the consumption of foods and beverages by Saudi adults.

Design

The Saudi Health Interview Survey (SHIS) was conducted in 2013. Data were collected through interviews and anthropometric measurements were done. A diet history questionnaire was used to determine the amount of consumption for eighteen food or beverage items in a typical week.

Setting

The study was a household survey in all thirteen administrative regions of Saudi Arabia.

Subjects

Participants were 10 735 individuals aged 15 years or older.

Results

Mean daily consumption was 70·9 (se 1·3) g for fruits, 111·1 (se 2·0) g for vegetables, 11·6 (se 0·3) g for dark fish, 13·8 (se 0·3) g for other fish, 44·2 (se 0·7) g for red meat, 4·8 (se 0·2) g for processed meat, 10·9 (se 0·3) g for nuts, 219·4 (se 5·1) ml for milk and 115·5 (se 2·6) ml for sugar-sweetened beverages. Dietary guideline recommendations were met by only 5·2 % of individuals for fruits, 7·5 % for vegetables, 31·4 % for nuts and 44·7 % for fish. The consumption of processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages was high in young adults.

Conclusions

Only a small percentage of the Saudi population met the dietary recommendations. Programmes to improve dietary behaviours are urgently needed to reduce the current and future burden of disease. The promotion of healthy diets should target both the general population and specific high-risk groups. Regular assessments of dietary status are needed to monitor trends and inform interventions.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email mokdaa@uw.edu

References

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