Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science
Objectives : Past decades brought important changes in the common dietary patterns in Thailand , with a shift from the traditional diet ( based on rice, vegetables and fish ) to the use of more western-like type of cuisine and fast foods. In the land where fruits and vegetables are in abundance all through the year , the young generations nowadays hardly include them in their diet on a regular basis , the result being nutrient malnutrition - not because of scarcity or lack of education , but because of indolence.The present study aimed to evaluate the profile of the mineral status referred to the dietary patterns of the students as part of an administrative attempt of reducing the use of junk foods in school and help increase their health awareness and ultimately the academic performance.
Methods : A number of 150 Thai and International students (71 G / 79 B),age 6-18 completed a survey evaluating their usual dietary patterns outside and inside the school. Mineral status was evaluated by observing their fingernails and data was compared with that of previous evaluations of the mineral status over the past 2 school years.
Results : As anticipated, deficiencies in Zn and Fe -elements known to affect academic performance and behavior- continue to be observed .Mineral deficiencies were found present in :40%(Zn) and 36.5%(Fe) of the elementary students (age 6-10),and 46%(Zn) and 21.2%(Fe) of MS/HS students (age 11-18). Through all are eating still within their native diets ( however largely altered by the increased amount of poultry and fried used ,Thailand being the top producer of poultry in Asia ) -the results of the use of added fast foods are visible in all age groups, the dorm students being more affected . Deficiencies can be observed starting even from the kindergarten years ( Zn in 47% and Fe in 8% of the students ). KFC is the food of choice in 46% of the students,while among the foods sold through the school Mart , preferred are the :French fries , fried chicken,noodle soups and chips.
Conclusions : As part of the year-start evaluation, this exercise showed the dietary trends with possible negative effects for the future of the students and enables the administration in creating new policies conducive to better health and improved academic performance , thus further study and in more extended areas will be definitely necessary.
Funding Sources : No
California Prep International School