Influence of educational interventions on nutrition and sustainability in Ecuadorian university students residing in Honduras

Main Article Content

Jean Pierre Enriquez https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6174-6429
Adriana Hernández-Santana https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7802-3611

Abstract

Eating habits can be compromised in the transition to college life specially in a new country. In addition, the eating patterns of college students could be improved through various strategies during the college adjustment process. A key point is nutrition and sustainability, whose content can be taught through educational sessions at universities. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of educational interventions and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (DM) in Ecuadorian first-year university students in Honduras, where the student population of Ecuador ranks second, after Honduras. Eating patterns were evaluated using a questionnaire on adherence to MD and one on eating behaviors. The educational interventions focused on the benefits of sustainability, culture, environment, and health that DM provides. The study had a diagnostic phase with the participation of the universe of students (n = 65), and an intervention phase where 32 students participated: 18 in the group that received nutritional education and 14 in the control group. The group that received educational intervention improved their eating behaviors, going from unhealthy to moderately healthy, however, adherence to DM did not show increases at the end of the interventions (p> 0.05). The control group did not present changes in any attribute, remaining in unhealthy behaviors and low adherence to DM. Fifty percent of the students in the intervention group returned to Ecuador during the COVID-19 crisis, while in the control group it was 71.4%. In conclusion, it is important to provide advice on nutrition and sustainability from the beginning of university studies, since young people migrate to a country with totally different customs from those of Ecuador and even the Andean Community.
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