Effect of Internet Addiction on Dietary Behavior and Lifestyle Characteristics Among University Students
With increased use of internet in daily lives, its negative effects are also being observed on physical, psychological and social health of individuals.
Objective: To determine the effect of internet addiction (IA) on dietary behavior and lifestyle characteristics among university students.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the subjects were students selected from four universities in Lahore, Pakistan through two-stage sampling (n = 322). Levels of Internet Addiction (IA) were assessed using Young Internet Addiction Test and demographics, dietary behavior and lifestyle factors using self-reported
Results: Severe and moderate IA was present in 9.6% and 41.9% of population respectively. High prevalence was found among males, Private Sector University and engineering students. Frequent breakfast skipping, increased meal size and habit of snacking while using internet was found associated with IA. Internet Addicts were also used to eat less than recommended daily servings of dairy and fruit and more servings of meat group than their no internet addict counterparts (p < 0.05). Fast food and fried items were most consumed snacks, while carbonated beverages were most consumed beverages among internet addicts. IA was found associated with lesser physically activity, shorter duration of physical activity, disorganized sleep pattern and less duration of sleep (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Unhealthy dietary behavior and lifestyle habits were exhibited by internet addicts. University students should be educated regarding importance of balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for effectual primary prevention of numerous chronic diseases
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