Relationship between Internet Addiction and Dietary Behaviors of Students, Studying in a Teaching Hospital

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Nutrition, Nur International University, Lahore, Pakistan

2 Department of Biochemistry, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

3 Pakistan Health Research Council, Islamabad, Pakistan

4 Provincial Food fortification Alliance of Pakistan, Civil Secretariat Office, Lower Mall, Lahore, Pakistan

5 Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Home Economics, Lahore, Pakistan

6 Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Background: Problematic Internet Use (PIU) as an impulse-control disorder including “internet addiction” is commonly described as “a person’s incapability to overcome their excessive internet use, which in turn leads to distress and weakening of daily functional activities”. This study aimed to determine the dietary behavior of internet addicts among students.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study in Fatima Memorial College of Medicine and Dentistry,
176 students aged 18-28 years were enrolled. A self-constructed questionnaire was used to evaluate demographic profile, level of internet addiction, dietary habits, physical activity, and snacking, and lifestyle patterns.
Results: Totally, 46.6% of students were mildly addicted to internet and 46% skipped the breakfast. Among internet addicted persons, snacking was found very common due to hunger, habit and lack of time for proper meal. The daily intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy, bread and cereal and meat was below WHO recommended amount and only 2.8% took appropriate amount. Only meat and fried food consumption were significantly and positively correlated with internet addiction.
Conclusion: The study findings showed that addiction of students to the internet is increasing day by day and its negative effects on dietary patterns are evident. There is a need to plan interventions focusing on reducing screen time and promoting healthy eating.