Diet Quality and Nutritional Status among Visually Impaired and Blind University Students

Document Type : Original Article


Alghad International College for Applied Medical Sciences, Nursing Department, KSA


Abstract Background: Vision impairment affects the daily life activ-ities of people. The impairment impacts their ability to choose food and prepare meals due to unavailability of Braille label-lingon the food products and lack of reliable assistance while purchasing food, in turn, affecting their level of life satisfaction and nutrition status. Diet quality is one of the most important factors that affect nutritional status. The current cross-sectional observational. Aim of Study: This study aimed to assess nutritional status, diet quality, nutrients intake, nutritional knowledge, and food handling practices for visually impaired female students. Material and Methods: The data was collected from 75 visually impaired female students at The Disabilities Students Center for Girls, King Saud University (KSU) and the student housing at the female campus. A face-to-face questionnaire was used to evaluate the socio-economic characteristics, nutritional status, Diet Quality Index international, nutrients’ intake, nutri-tional knowledge, and food handling practices, and assessthe correlation between BMI and knowledge levels. Results: The majority of participants were of average 25.81 years of age with a moderate monthly income. They were all single, at different education stages, and did not have chronic diseases. The mean BMI was 26.57kg/m2, withhalf of them-having a normal weight. Eighty-eight per cent did not consume food supplement, 64% did not exercise daily, and 57.33% con-sumed 1-3 cups of water daily. The total score for diet qual-ity index-international was approximately 54.12 out of 100. The daily intake of energy was 2892.25 Kcal/day, with car-bohydrates, protein and fat consumption constituting 70.21%, 5.16%, and 23.63% of total calories. There was a significant in-verse correlation between BMI categories and nutrition knowl-edge level. Most participants need help with food handling, shopping, preparing meals, and delivery services for meals and food products. The visually impaired have a low nutritional knowledge level that affects their diet quality, nutritional status, and food handling practices. More attention is needed concerning these factors to enhance their quality of life. Further studies to de-termine the relationship between progression of vision impair-ment and nutrition status are needed using larger sample size, including males and females, andnutrition screening to assess total body fat percentage. Conclusion, the study revealed three key findings. Nutri-tion knowledge levels among participants werelow. An inverse association between BMI and nutrition knowledge level was observed. The quality of diet and some food handling practices associated with BMI and nutritional knowledge levels in this population were also low. This study can not be generalized to a larger Saudi Arabian population since this study was carried out on a small sample size, only female subjects of a particu-lar age group. Further studies on larger sample size, including both genders and different ages, need to be done to assess the visually impaired difficulties in regards to food and life quality.