Exercise and fruit/vegetable intake in a sample of Brazilian university students: association with nutritional status

Palavras-chave: Physical Activity, Food Intake, Overweight, Health Promotion


The objective of this study was to identify the frequency of practice of exercise and fruit/vegetable intake in a representative sample of Brazilian university students and their possible association with nutritional status. The sample consisted of 1177 individuals of both sexes, aged 18-35 years, selected randomly. Information about the frequency of exercise and fruit/vegetable intake was obtained with the National College Health Assessment-II self-administered questionnaire. Nutritional status was defined based on body mass index according to the cut-off values recommended by the World Health Organization. The results showed that the practice of cardio-respiratory and resistance exercises were reported by 51.5% and 32.5% of the sample, respectively. Less than 4% of the university students had an adequate fruit/vegetable intake. Proportion of occurrence of excess body weight was equivalent to 32.4%, being significantly higher in men (45.6% vs 22.33%; p < 0.005). The risk to identify excess body weight in university students who reported not consuming fruits/vegetables daily was two to three times higher than their peers who reported an adequate intake (women: OR = 2.89 [95%CI 2.28 – 3.62]; men: OR = 1.96 [95%CI 1.44 – 2.60]). Exposure risk for excess body weight was progressively lower according to reported higher frequency of practice of cardio-respiratory exercise. In conclusion, the findings suggest immediate interventions aimed at emphasizing the healthy practice of exercise and food intake could help to minimize the risk of appearance and development of excess body weight.


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