Examining food intake and eating out of home patterns among university students

Erand Llanaj, Roza Adany, Carl Lachat, Marijke D'Haese

Research output: Article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Eating out of home (OH) is increasingly popular in Balkan countries, among them Albania. To date there is only anecdotal evidence regarding nutritional quality of food consumed OH and the contribution to diet. This study assessed intake of foods and drinks consumed OH and at home (AH), as well as their nutritional contribution to the daily diet of university students in Tirana, Albania. Using a single day Automated Multiple Pass Method (AMPM) 24- hour dietary recall, we examined food intake among 289 students aged 18-24 years old, from three major universities in Albania. Contribution of eating OH to total energy intake per day, as well as to daily consumption of macronutrients by eating OH intensity tertiles were assessed. Foods and drinks consumed OH contributed 46.9% [95%CI:41.4-52.8] of total daily energy intake, representing, on average, 1169.1kcal [95%CI:1088.3-1249.9]. Sweets, soft drinks and meat products were more frequently consumed OH, while fruits and vegetables consumption was extremely low. The average quantity of sugars and dietary fats per day was higher AH, 76.9g [95%CI:70.3-83.5] and 173.7g [95%CI:163.2-184.2] respectively, compared to OH, 33.7g [95%CI:30.4-37.0] and 142.0g [95%CI:131.5-152.5] respectively. Dietary composition of AH intake was richer in sugars, total fats and proteins, while OH intake was richer in saturated fats. The overall diet appeared unhealthy, when nutrients were assessed as energy percentage against WHO proposed nutrient standards for sugar and saturated fats. Eating OH, even though was associated with lower fruits and vegetables intake, was not clearly associated with poor diet quality, as AH foods were also characterized by increased saturated fats and sugars intake as energy percentage. This study provides data on the first assessment of current dietary patterns of the studied population and can be used as baseline for designing and conducting future studies and interventions targeting malnutrition in all its forms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0197874
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - okt. 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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