This study aimed to establish the dietary practices, assess nutrition status based on body mass index and the relationship between dietary diversity and nutrition status of female undergraduate students at Kenyatta University, Kenya.
The study adopted a cross-sectional analytical design involving sample of 422 female undergraduate students randomly selected from Kenyatta University. Minimum Dietary Diversity – Women and Food Frequency Questionnaire were used to assess the dietary practices of the female students. Weight and height were measured to assess the nutrition status of the female students. Data obtained was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.
The results showed that 64.0% of the participants had consumed ≥ 5 food groups while 36% had consumed <5 food groups over a period of 24 hours. In terms of nutrition status, 68.4% of the participants had normal Body Mass Index while 23.9% were overweight, 5.55% were underweight and 2.3% were obese. Minimum Dietary Diversity – Women was significantly associated with nutrition status (p=0.044).
The results illustrated unhealthy eating habits and sub-optimal nutrition status among a significant number of the female students. Policy makers should scale up interventions that would help improve dietary practices of women of reproductive age particularly university students.