Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

Young urban women and the nutrition transition in Jordan

Hala N Madanata1 c1, Ryan Lindsaya2 and Tiffany Campbella1

a1 Graduate School of Public Health, College of Health and Human Services, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA

a2 San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program, Public Health (Global Health), San Diego, CA, USA


Objective To determine the nutrition transition stage of female Jordanian college students.

Design A cross-sectional survey was used to assess eating styles, disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, body esteem and dissatisfaction, and media influence.

Setting Public and private universities in Jordan.

Subjects A total of 255 subjects were recruited through a government-initiated youth campaign.

Results The majority of participants had a normal BMI (70·6 %) with almost all (99·4 %) reporting restrained eating behaviour. Scores on the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) indicated that 45·2 % of these female college students should be screening for eating disorders. Subscales of the Body Esteem Scale (BES) showed that these women did not have substantial body esteem issues and mean scores on the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ-3) indicated that overall these women did not feel the media was dictating the way their body should look. Where Jordanian women did feel pressure from Western media, there was a 6·7-fold increase in the likelihood that they wanted to lose weight. In addition, 48·2 % of the female college students desired to lose weight and 14·4 % desired weight gain, indicating a certain level of body dissatisfaction.

Conclusions With low levels of overweight and obesity and a propensity towards eating based on external hunger cues, college-aged Jordanian women may be less advanced in their development through the nutrition transition than the general population of women. However, high levels of restrained eating and disordered eating attitudes and behaviours indicate the need for an intervention to address healthy weight-loss strategies, assess eating disorders and help maintain healthy body esteem.

(Received February 05 2010)

(Accepted June 02 2010)

(Online publication August 12 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email