In 2016, BINUS UNIVERSITY lecturer Ms Yulia had her research paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition titled, the ‘Dietary patterns of obese and normal-weight women of reproductive age in urban slum areas in Central Jakarta’. The study aimed to identify the food consumption of women from low socio-economic backgrounds and its correlation with obesity.
A total of 103 obese and 103 normal weight subjects were chosen for the experiment who then underwent a series of interviews to determine their socio-demographic characteristics and physical activities — The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess the physical activities of the study population. Moreover, the participants were also given a Food Frequency Questionnaire which aimed to discover the types and frequency of the food they consumed which were categorized as; never, 1-6 times/d, 1-6 times/week, and 1-3 times/month.
Ms Yulia’s research identified two dietary patterns among the study population: the ‘more healthy’ and the ‘less healthy’. The ‘less healthy’ group was characterized by their consumption of fried foods of snacks, soybeans, tubers, and poultry products whereas the ‘more healthy’ group generally consumed seafood, vegetables, eggs, and non-fried snacks.
The results of the study showed the energy intake of the obese subjects were significantly higher than among the normal-weight participants — this is consistent with findings from other studies that showed high energy intake is the main determinant of obesity. The macronutrients that contributed to energy, carbohydrate, and fat intakes were also to be found significantly higher among the obese than the normal-weight subjects. There was no significant difference however, in their protein consumption which concludes that obesity prevalence among those enrolled in this study was associated with high carbohydrate and fat intake and low protein intake.
To overcome the obesity problem within this socio-economic group, there needs to be better education of nutritional values as well as the portions of food consumed. Furthermore, the population of Jakarta’s urban slums often have limited access to healthy food choices, and thus there is now increasing cases of obesity in these neighbourhoods compared to rural areas.
Ms Yulia’s study is a testament to BINUS UNIVERSITY’s commitment to facilitate research activities for its faculties. In doing so, the university has contributed to the development of various sectors such as computer systems, public health, medicine, and food biotechnology in Indonesia.