Investigating the consumption of processed meat, meat and meat alternatives and related factors affecting their purchases and consumption amongst undergraduate students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.
Birkett, Megan Ann.
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Due to the recent publication by the International Agency of Cancer Research (2015a) that indicated that processed meat was carcinogenic and red meat probably carcinogenic, the consumption and knowledge of processed meat in the undergraduate students at University of KwaZulu-Natal was a concern. Due to the limited published research available on the subject, therefore, this study aims to investigate the consumption of processed meat, meat and meat alternatives and related factors affecting their purchases and consumption amongst undergraduate students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. A cross-sectional study was conducted on undergraduate students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the Pietermaritzburg Campus (N=189). The students were requested to complete a questionnaire consisting of socio-demographic questions, socio-economic questions, a food frequency and nutrition knowledge questions. For the purpose of the study, the questionnaire was developed using current literature and expert input from the study supervisor. The results showed that the students consumed eggs and cold meat the most frequently, every day compared to other meat alternatives and meat. Legumes and fast foods were eaten the least by the majority of the participants. They indicated eating it “never or less than once a month” when compared to other meat and meat alternatives. The participants also considered price to be the main factor when deciding which food to purchase, followed by taste. It was also evident that the students had a poor overall level of nutrition knowledge regarding good sources of protein, fat content, salt content and general health of meat, processed meat and meat alternatives. The results of this study show similarities between previously published studies regarding factors when considering purchasing and nutrition knowledge. Due to the lack of locally published research concerning the consumption and knowledge of students regarding meat, processed meat and meat alternatives, this study forms a reference point to the importance of the need of nutrition education in undergraduate students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.