Nutritional knowledge of Emirati traditional foods and body image perceptions among UAE University students

A. S. Al Dhaheri, A. K. Al Ma'awali, L. C. Laleye, S. A. Washi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the United Arab Emirates, dietary habits and lifestyles have undergone recent changes. To investigate the nutritional knowledge and body image perceptions among young people, a cross-sectional questionnaire was administered to UAE University students (n=304; 150 females). Measures included frequency of consuming Emirati traditional foods, reasons for their consumption, knowledge of their nutritional value, and body image perceptions. Forty-six percent of females consumed traditional foods one to two times a week; 32.5% of males consumed the foods three to four times a week; both genders cited taste as the primary reason for this choice. 69% of males and 47% of females considered traditional foods as healthy. However, the majority characterized these foods as high in fat. Also, 42.2% of males and 21.3% of females were either overweight or obese. Males tended to underestimate and females tended to overestimate their actual BMI. Understanding individuals' nutritional evaluation of traditional foods is essential for clarifying the relationship between dietary intake and chronic obesity and diabetes in the UAE population. Interventions to improve adolescents' and young adults' knowledge of body weight and its relationship to chronic disease risk factors are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-860
Number of pages8
JournalEmirates Journal of Food and Agriculture
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Body mass index
  • Dietary habits
  • Emirati foods
  • Self-image
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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