Obesity, unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary behaviors among university students in Sudan: growing risks for chronic diseases in a poor country

  • Abdulrahman O. MusaigerEmail author
  • Fatima Al-Khalifa
  • Mariam Al-Mannai
Regular Article



This study aimed to highlight nutritional status, dietary habits and sedentary patterns among university students in Khartoum state, Sudan.


A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 400 university students (183 males and 217 females) from University of Khartoum, Sudan. A pre-validated self-reported questionnaire was used to collect the data. Weight and height were measured and body mass index was used to determine obesity status.


Of the students, 20.5, 14.7, and 1.7 % were underweight, overweight and obese, respectively. The majority of students (85.5 %) consumed breakfast daily. About 45 and 21.8 % of students consumed vegetables and fruit, respectively, on more than 3 days a week. Fast food was consumed significantly more (p < 0.01) for more than 3 days per week by females (44.2 %) than males (27.3 %). Females (42.9 %) were more likely to watch television for 3 h and more per day than males (30.6 %) (p < 0.039). Males (33.9 %) were more prone to sleep for fewer than 7 h per day than females (23 %) (p < 0.016).


The health authority in Sudan should not only focus on prevention of malnutrition among children but also should organize programs to promote healthy eating and lifestyle among children and youths to prevent and control alarming risk factors for chronic diseases.


Dietary habits Nutritional status Sedentary behaviors Sudan University students 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdulrahman O. Musaiger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fatima Al-Khalifa
    • 2
  • Mariam Al-Mannai
    • 3
  1. 1.Arab Center for NutritionManamaBahrain
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of KhartoumKhartoumSudan
  3. 3.College of ScienceUniversity of BahrainSakheerBahrain

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