*Henry-Unaeze, H.N.1 and Ngwu, E.K.2
1Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Applied Food Sciences and Tourism, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, PMB 7267 Umuahia Abia State, Nigeria.
2Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
*Corresponding author’s email address: [email protected]
Background: Eating habits and dietary practices have a remarkable effect on the health outcome of an individual. Objective: This study investigated eating habits and dietary practices of out-patients diabetic adults attending a tertiary health facility in Nigeria. Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional survey was conducted in the Out-patients Diabetic clinic of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu Nigeria. A total of 370 respondents were purposively selected from the hospital’s diabetic attendance. Information on eating habits and dietary practices was obtained with a validated structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed with IBM Statistical Product for Service Solution version 21. Results were presented with descriptive statistics and Chi-Square. Result: Many (77.3%) of the subjects had 3meals per day, 62.1% did not take snacks, and 63.8% consumed home foods. There were occasional outdoor eating (82.2%) mainly due to ceremonies (45.2%), 67% took supplements, 53.5% had knowledge of nutrition fact, and 44.3% desired weight reduction. Some consumed vegetables (67.3%) and fruits (39.5%) > once/day, 81.4% consumed 94g to 188g meat portion/meal and 76.2% consumed fish >2 times per week. Preference of poultry/fish over red meat/pork/fried meat was sometimes for 45.4% of the respondents. Up to 56.8% consumed appreciable quantities of grains/starches, 67% ate desserts, and 55.1% consumed baked foods < once/week. Some (61.9%) took coffee ≤3 cups/week and 78.4% took salted fast foods ≤ once/week, and 63.8% consumed non-hydrogenated vegetable oils. Relationships exist between socio-demographic/economic characteristics, eating habits and dietary practices. Conclusion: The study showed that appreciable percent of the diabetics studied can make informed choices although significant proportions need comprehensive nutrition education on eating habits and adherence to dietary guidance.