Magazine 2017
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
*Shama Chavan  
In many developed and developing countries women are working hand in hand with men to earn their  
livelihood. The change in their lifestyle has affected their eating patterns. The main aim of the study was  
to understand the fruit consumption pattern among working women and its effect on the BMI. The study  
would help us to understand how frit eating influences healthy living. In this cross sectional study 200  
working women were selected and their 24 hours dietary recall was taken. The data was analysed  
statistically. A t-test conducted showed that the BMI difference between the two groups was statistically  
significant. (p<.05). The consumption of fruit intake has a positive effect on BMI. The sample was restricted  
to urban women with sedentary life style in the Mumbai city. Also the time of fruit eaten was not considered  
here which could be taken up as another study.  
Keywords : Fruit consumption , Breakfast eating, Waist Circumference, Working hours, BMI.  
Breakfast literally means breaking your fast after the 7-8 hours of sleep. The body is defect of nutrients which  
have to be replaced by consuming breakfast. Many nutrients like the water soluble vitamins have to be consumed  
on a daily basis as they cannot be stored in the body. These nutrients have to be taken regularly in the meals.  
These nutrients can be supplied through the fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Inclusion of these in the breakfast  
is a crucial habit which one must indulge in. In any metropolitan city breakfast and dinner are the only 2 meals  
consumed at home by working women. Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, this meal of the  
day should not be missed. With the changing needs of the family the women have step out shoulder to  
shoulder with men so that they can be financially independent. There are 3 major factors that affect their eating  
patterns: 1.The travelling time to reach the work place. 2. The working hours of individuals. 3. The cooking time  
she gets before she leaves for work place.  
Breakfast foods are generally selected on the basis of the region a person belongs to, her religion and the food  
availability in that area. Working women may consider convenience foods as one of the options for their  
breakfast but knowledge of healthy food options, homemade foods inclusion along with fruits for breakfast is  
very important at this juncture.  
The Body Mass Index is a strong indicator of the type of food eaten by an individual and body’s response to it  
as underweight or overweight or obese.  
There is a strong belief that breakfast consumption protects a person against overweight and obesity. The  
consumption of breakfast is associated with improved nutrient intake. A Canadian community health survey  
conducted in 2004, which represented 98% of Canadian population, showed that among the female subjects  
BMI of breakfast consumers was lower than non consumers (Barr et al, 2015). A study carried out among US  
adults in 2005 in the National Health and Nutrition survey suggests that breakfast consumers who had fruits in  
their first meal of the day were more likely to be non smokers, doing regular exercise. It also showed that the  
energy intake among women were higher. The type of meal is an important determinant in considering the  
prevalence of obesity or overweight (Song W O et al, 2005). Another study carried among Finnish adolescents  
to understand the relationship between eating behaviour, breakfast consumption and obesity showed that  
breakfast consumption inclusive of fruits was associated with lower levels of overweight/obesity which means a  
lower BMI among adolescents (Veltsista et al, 2010).  
A secondary data analysis that was carried among 230 participants, it examined the effects of breakfast eating  
and total daily eating frequency on BMI and weight loss outcomes among overweight and obese adults. This  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
study did not show a significant association among breakfast eating and BMI (p>0.380), this difference may be  
associated with the type of food consumed for breakfast ( Megson. M, 2016) . A study carried out in Canada  
among children reported that children who skip breakfast or lunch are more likely to do snacking between  
meals, and late at night (Dubois et al.) As a result, their total caloric intake is the same as those who eat  
breakfast but their nutrient content may vary. Obesity has developed into a serious health concern. Among  
various factors that affect obesity, not consuming breakfast and lower intake of complex carbohydrates are  
among them. The results of the study indicate that consumption of nutrient dense foods and inclusion of raw  
fruits and vegetables may have an impact on BMI and the day’s energy intake. As a result it is very important  
for the working women to consider eating correct nutrients in adequate proportions as a priority. Also a low fat  
breakfast makes a difference in the total calorie load. With weight gain and obesity becoming a major public  
health concern, experts agree that incorporate  
good eating habits among teens and bring them to the breakfast table. According to the U.S. Centres for  
Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of the nation’s adolescents aged 12 to 19 are overweight or obese,  
which sets the stage for serious future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease ( Healthy Children  
Magazine, Summer/Back to School 2009). Certain rules related to eating fruits during adolescence would help  
to improve their BMI in the long run. A study carried out to find out whether the simple rules in the family like  
“No second helping” or “No desserts but fruits” have shown to reduce the BMI in young adults (Bailey D, 2016).  
A study carried out among youth to find out whether the vicinity to fast food outlets affects BMI. The research  
shows that more the distance from the fast food outlet lower was the BMI but not the waist circumference  
(Lamichhane, 2012). A cohort study on Australian individuals suggests that fruit intake was positively associated  
with the BMI of individuals. The association between fruit and vegetable intake and underweight in adults  
suggests that improving fruit and vegetables intakes are important for the overall dietary patterns of people in  
this group (Karen et al, 2014). Maintaining good health becomes easy with good intake of fruits and vegetable.  
The frequency of eating fruits in the evening showed a significant positive correlation with body weight (p <  
0.05) and BMI (p < 0.01), respectively. The number of evening fruit intake had a significantly positive correlation  
with body weight and BMI (Eunah,2014).However, accurate fruit intake evaluation is hard and high sugar content  
in most of the fruits suggest possible negative relationships with health indices. The purpose of the present  
study was to evaluate the fruit intake status of adolescents and to examine the relationship between fruit intake  
and body mass index (BMI). The study carried out among Austrian adults shows that they are not far away from  
reaching the minimum goal of 400 gms fruit and vegetable intake per day. Nevertheless, 16% consumed less  
than 200 g vegetables and fruit. To improve health benefits, a higher intake of varied fruit and vegetables  
should be achieved.  
Data revealed that obesity was high among mothers reached 91.6% while obesity in the offspring was 24.5%.  
According to prevalence of obesity, families were divided to 4 groups, 8.43% of families were of normal weight,  
and 20.48% were obese. Food frequency consumption rate and food analysis revealed unhealthy food intake,  
especially in obese families. All groups reported high rate intake of sweets, pastries and beverage. Calories,  
carbohydrate, cholesterol and sodium were higher than the RDA in all mother’s groups, and adolescent group  
2) compared to low daily intake of micronutrients especially calcium and vitamin D in all groups. More than  
half of all mothers and offspring skipped breakfast. Results of this study suggest that familial obesity increases  
the risk of offspring being obese, dietary habits might be involved in the development of obesity (Hassan NE et  
al ,2016) .  
A systematic review of studies showed that there was an inverse association between breakfast eating and diet  
quality. It is a recognised fact that a healthy diet is fundamental to human health and wellbeing throughout their  
life. Poor diet intake is an important risk factor for the development of non-communicable diseases. It is  
important to understand the nutritional composition of meals and ways in which different meal patterns affect  
the diet quality. The contribution of meals on the energy and nutrient intake of individuals needs to be studied.  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
The sample size taken was 200 working women from the city of Mumbai. Continuous Sampling Technique was  
used to select the samples. Their Anthropometric measurements were taken. In which their height was measured  
using a wall mounted STRATOMETER. The weight of the participants was measured using a weighing scale in  
kilograms. Their Body Mass Index [BMI] was calculated using the following formula-  
BMI= Weight (Kg)  
Height m]2  
This was developed by Adolphe Quetlet.  
Participants were asked to fill questionnaire which gave the information whether they regularly had their breakfast  
or not. It also mentioned about what type of food they consumed for breakfast. The regularity of breakfast or  
fruit intake by participants was asked in the questionnaire and also their food choices could be found from this  
The data was analysed statistically. Mean, Standard deviation was calculated to know the fact whether consuming  
fruits affected the BMI among working women. A high BMI is an indicator of high body fat. It is used to screen  
weight categories that may cause health issues.  
In this cross sectional study 200 working women were selected and their consent was taken. The 24 hours  
dietary recall of all the participants was taken. They were asked to fill a questionnaire which had the information  
about whether they had breakfast and the type of food they had for breakfast, whether they consumed fruits, if  
yes how many in a day. This data was analysed statistically. The co relation coefficient was calculated to  
understand the relation of breakfast eating and fruits intake on BMI.  
Design of the Study  
The purpose of the study was explained to the 200 participants prior to the commencement of the study.  
Doubts and queries related to the study were clarified. Data pertaining to subject’s age, gender, marital status  
was collected using the questionnaire.  
The questionnaire given to the subjects also had questions related to the type of food intake whether they had  
fruit, their snacking pattern and their working hours.  
SPSS was used to conduct the statistical analysis. A P value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant  
for all the tests conducted.  
Results And Discussion  
Demographic characteristics include subjects’ age,designation,marital status. The questionnaire gave information  
whether the participants had breakfast or not before leaving for their work place. Also it gave information  
whether they consumed fruits in a day and how many?  
The mean age group of the participants was 35 years. Out of 200, 81% of the participants were married and  
cooked the food for the families and left for their work place. 91(45.5%) participants were full time employees  
in their work place while 54.5% (109) of them were part timers.  
The anthropometric measurements were taken with the help of which BMI was calculated. The mean weight of  
participants was found to be 54 kgs . The average fruit intake was asked and also they were asked to report the  
timings of fruit consumption. A correlation was calculated to know whether there is a relation between fruit  
intake and BMI. P values <0.5 were considered significant for the tests.  
The results from this study showed that fruit intake had an effect on their BMI. More the fruit intake lesser is the  
BMI. Most of them consumed fruits in the evening or after lunch. They found carrying fruit easy and consuming  
it whole. Most of preferred fruits were Apples, Pears, Sapota etc. 90% of the participants liked to consume  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
In a study carried out among 5625 students in the age group of 10-18 years, researchers found that breakfast  
eaters have high Triglyceride level more systolic blood pressure and higher BMI (p<0.001) while mean HDL  
cholesterol was lower in this group. This group had high risk of obesity, increased triglyceride and Low density  
Lipoprotein cholesterol.  
The findings of a study showed there is a relation between fruit intake and body weight, it suggests that  
increasing the intake of fruits can be an effective dietary strategy to control weight and reduce the risk of  
obesity (Azagba and Sharaf,2012). A study that was carried among 400 adolescents in South Korea on their  
fruit intake and its relation to BMI suggests that a frequency of eating fruits in the evening showed a significant  
positive correlation with body weight and their BMI (p<0.01) (Eunah,2014).  
A study suggests that combining caloric restriction with increased intake of fruits and vegetables is a very  
effective strategy to keep weight under control (Beth et al, 2004). On nationally and international bodies have  
recommended an increased intake of fruits and vegetables in order to reduce the risk of overweight and  
obesity. The energy density of fruit, their energy content, the form of fruit in which it is eaten and also the  
method of preparation affects the weight control (Alinia S,Hels O and Tetens I,2009) . A study on fruit and  
vegetable consumption on body weight and weight loss of 77 subjects showed that Fruit consumption and not  
vegetable intake was a associated with BMI. On the contrary fruit intake was inversely proportional to BMI and  
weight control( Schroder K,2010).  
This study showed that fruit intake would affect the BMI. Higher the number of fruits consumed there is weight  
control. In fact fruit consumption should be considered as a good nutritional strategy to reduce weight. Working  
hours can also influence the fruit consumption among working women. A culture of carrying Pack lunch was  
seen among 95% of the participants while a few consumed it out. Carrying fruits either whole or in the form of  
salads was a common practice. Inclusion of fruit on a regular basis may be a good strategy to combat weight  
gain and keep BMI within the normal range. Fruits are very good source of micronutrients which have to be  
consumed on daily basis. As mentioned in the above discussion this study also reveals the importance of fruit  
intake in weight control and subsequently keeping the BMI within normal range.  
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Dubois, L., Girard, M., Potvin Kent, M., Farmer, A., & Tatone-Tokuda, F. (2008). Breakfast skipping is  
associated with differences in meal patterns, macronutrient intakes and overweight among pre-school  
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Assistant Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Maniben Nanavati Women’s College,  
Mumbai – 400056. Email: [email protected].