Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Health Probe in College Students Living in Los Angeles and in Taiwan: Dietary Pattern, Physical Activity and Energy Balance

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Health Probe in College Students Living in Los Angeles and in Taiwan: Dietary Pattern, Physical Activity and Energy Balance

Article excerpt

The objective was to examine differences of dietary pattern, physical activity and energy balance in 240 college students with 137 of them enrolled in California State University, Los Angeles (LA) and the other 93 enrolled in China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan (TW). A three-day dietary record and a 24-hour physical activity journal were designed to obtain data. LA was found to consume 1, 1.5, 0.8 more servings on fruits and vegetables, milk, citrus group, respectively and 1.2, 4.3 less servings on meats and beans, and grains, respectively, than those of TW with significant differences between student groups. Each group consumed 0.7 serving dark greens per day. Both groups did not obtain the recommended "5 A Day" servings of fruits and vegetables. For physical activity, although LA spent 1033.4 [+ or -] 734.0 kcal/day on physical activity, 400 kcal more than TW (607.6 [+ or -] 507.3 kcal/day) but LA had 400 more kcal total energy intake (1720.9 [+ or -] 624.8 kcal/day) than those of TW (1306.9 [+ or -] 429.3 kcal/day). As a result, LA's energy balance (-995.5 [+ or -] 1023.8 kcal/day) was not significantly different from TW (-894.4 [+ or -] 696.6 kcal/day). The TW group seemed to have a more sedentary life style than the LA group. Multiple lifestyle modification, including dietary pattern, physical activity and energy balance, should be taken into consideration altogether by college students to promote their health.

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Dietary pattern has long been proved to be strongly associated with health status. Some types of diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and the Ornish diet, have been shown to possess benefits for the improvement of lipid profiles and the reduction of cardiovascular risks in humans (Panagiotakos et al, 2004; Dallongeville et al., 2003; Trichopoulou, Costacou, Barnia, Trichopoulos, 2003; PREMIER Collaborative Research Group, 2003; Aldana et al., 2003; Schroder, Schmelz, Marrugat, 2002; De Longeril et al., 1999). Eating more servings of fruits and vegetables is well-acknowledged to acquire health benefit. The "5 A Day for Better Health Program" encourages the public to eat 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day and based on cohort studies that have proved its effect on prevention of stroke, many chronic diseases and certain common cancers in humans (He, Nowson, MacGregor, 2006; Heber, 2004).

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its Food Guide Pyramid and replaced with a new MyPyramid, "Steps to a Healthier You" in year 2005 (MyPyramid, 2005a). Physical activity level was added in the new MyPyramid to underscore the importance of physical activity with respect to health. In the press release of "MyPyramid", the following description was made: "Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives." The 2005 Dietary Guideline for Americans proposed at least 30 minutes moderate intensity activity most days or preferably every day (USDA & USDHHS, 2005) to foster a longer, healthier, happier and productive life.

Physical activity is regarded as an independent factor for health promotion. It has shown that physical activity can have the protective effect on renal diseases (Finkelstein, Joshi, Hise, 2006), metabolic diseases (Li, Liu, Lin, 2006), cardiovascular diseases (Ignarro, Balestrieri, Napoli, 2006), breast cancer (Yang, Bernstein, Wu, 2003; Patel, Press, Meeske, Calle, Bernstein, 2003; Carpenter, Ross, PaganiniHill, Bernstein, 2003; Friedenreich, Courneya, Bryant, 2001), and osteoporosis (Borer K.T., 2005). Physical activity also discloses inverse association with triglycerides and fasting plasma glucose, and a positive association with high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (Li et al, 2006). The plausible mechanisms for physical activity to protect and promote cardiovascular functions include increased high density lipoprotein (HDL), lowered low density lipoprotein (LDL), increased myocardial oxygen supply, lowered myocardial oxygen demands, and decreased platelet aggregation, (Leeuwenburgh & Heinecke, 2001; Leaf, Kleinman, Hamilton, Deitrick, 1999). …

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