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Nutritional knowledge, food habits and health attitude of Chinese university students –a cross sectional study–

Ruka Sakamaki12*, Kenji Toyama2, Rie Amamoto2, Chuan-Jun Liu3 and Naotaka Shinfuku1

Author affiliations

1 International Center for Medical Research. Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, 650-0017, Japan

2 Seinan Jo Gakuin University Faculty of Health and Welfare, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Kitakyusyu, 803-0835, Japan

3 Department of Plastic Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, 650-0017, Japan

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2005, 4:4  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-4

Published: 9 February 2005



We have previously shown that irregular lifestyle of young Japanese female students are significantly related to their desire to be thinner. In the present study, we examined the nutritional knowledge and food habits of Chinese university students and compared them with those of other Asian populations.


A self-reported questionnaire was administered to 540 students, ranging in age from 19-24 years. Medical students from Beijing University (135 men and 150 women) in Northern China and Kunming Medical College in southern China (95 men and 160 women) participated in this study. The parametric variables were analyzed using the Student's t-test. Chi-square analyses were conducted for non-parametric variables


Our results showed that 80.5% of students had a normal BMI and 16.6 % of students were underweight with the prevalence of BMI>30 obesity being very low in this study sample. Young Chinese female students had a greater desire to be thinner (62.0%) than males (47.4%). Habits involving regular eating patterns and vegetable intake were reported and represent practices that ought to be encouraged.


The university and college arenas represent the final opportunity for the health and nutritional education of a large number of students from the educator's perspective. Our findings suggest the need for strategies designed to improve competence in the area of nutrition.