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Article

Adherence to Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines in Australian Undergraduate Biomedical Students and Associations with Body Composition and Metabolic Health: A Cross-Sectional Study

1
School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
2
North Melbourne Football Club, Arden Street, North Melbourne, VIC 3051, Australia
3
Mater Research Institute—The University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia
4
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Darlinghurst, Australia.
Academic Editor: Hans-Peter Kubis
Received: 20 September 2021 / Revised: 28 September 2021 / Accepted: 1 October 2021 / Published: 3 October 2021
There is a paucity of data on whether Australian university students are meeting specific nutrient guidelines, and the relationship between diet and physical activity patterns with body composition and metabolic health. In this study, biomedical students from The University of Queensland were recruited (150 males and 211 females, 19–25 years), and nutritional intake (ASA24-Australia) and physical activity levels (Active Australia Survey) quantified. Body composition (height, waist circumference, body mass, BMI, and percentage body fat; BOD POD) and metabolic health (oral glucose tolerance test) were also measured. Median daily energy intake was 6760 kJ in females and 10,338 kJ in males, with more than 30% of total energy coming from energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. Only 1 in 10 students met fruit or vegetable recommendations, with less than one third meeting recommendations for fibre, calcium, and potassium. Intakes of calcium and iron were particularly low among female students, with only 16% and 6% of students meeting the recommended dietary intake (RDI), respectively. The majority of males and almost half of all females exceeded the suggested dietary target (SDT) for sodium. Sufficient physical activity (≥150 min over ≥5 sessions per week) was met by more than 80% of students. Body composition and blood glucose concentrations were largely normal but an early sign of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR > 2.0), measured in a subset of students, was present in 21% of males and 17% of females. Modest reductions in blood glucose levels and percentage body fat were associated with increasing vigorous activity. Low intakes of fibre, calcium, and potassium could be corrected by increasing fruit, vegetable, and dairy intake, and, among females, health promotion messages focusing on iron-rich foods should be prioritised. While these nutrient deficiencies did not translate into immediate metabolic heath concerns, dietary behaviours can track into adulthood and have lasting effects on overall health. View Full-Text
Keywords: blood glucose; diet; exercise; insulin resistance; obesity; young adults blood glucose; diet; exercise; insulin resistance; obesity; young adults
MDPI and ACS Style

Gallo, L.A.; Gallo, T.F.; Young, S.L.; Fotheringham, A.K.; Barclay, J.L.; Walker, J.L.; Moritz, K.M.; Akison, L.K. Adherence to Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines in Australian Undergraduate Biomedical Students and Associations with Body Composition and Metabolic Health: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients 2021, 13, 3500. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103500

AMA Style

Gallo LA, Gallo TF, Young SL, Fotheringham AK, Barclay JL, Walker JL, Moritz KM, Akison LK. Adherence to Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines in Australian Undergraduate Biomedical Students and Associations with Body Composition and Metabolic Health: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2021; 13(10):3500. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103500

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gallo, Linda A., Tania F. Gallo, Sophia L. Young, Amelia K. Fotheringham, Johanna L. Barclay, Jacqueline L. Walker, Karen M. Moritz, and Lisa K. Akison. 2021. "Adherence to Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines in Australian Undergraduate Biomedical Students and Associations with Body Composition and Metabolic Health: A Cross-Sectional Study" Nutrients 13, no. 10: 3500. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103500

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