Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism

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Food Faddism: Its Determinants, Prevalence and Practices among Adult University Students in Ghana

Background: Food faddism is any dietary practice that either eliminates one or more of the essential food groups, or recommends consumption of one type of food in excess at the expense of other foods for extraordinary health benefit. It is of an extreme, exploitive and dubious nature, intended to produce results more quickly. This study therefore sought to identify the determinants, prevalence and the nature of the practice of food faddism.

Methods: This study was cross-sectional involving 150 university students in Ghana. WHO Stepwise questionnaires were modified to collect all information. The data were analysed using SPSS and Excel software.

Results: Prevalence of various forms of food faddism was found to be 65.3%. Ethnicity (p=0.045) and occupation of household head (p=0.046) were found to be influencing factors associated with the practice. Major explanations given for the practice were detoxification (48.0%) and enhancing functions of some body parts (41.3%). Foods associated with food faddism were mostly fruits, vegetables, seeds and herbs.

Conclusion: Prevalence of food faddism was found to be unacceptably high among these students of higher learning (University). It can be inferred that if the prevalence of food faddism is so high among university students, then it could be projected that worse occurrences may be happening among people of lower levels of education.

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