Evaluation of Nutritional Status with Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010) of Syrian Refugees Living Outside the Refugee Camps

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ATAYOĞLU A. T., Firat Y., Kaya N., Basmisirli E., Capar A. G., Aykemat Y., ...More

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol.20, no.1, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijerph20010849
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: refugee, nutritional status, healthy eating index, obesity, primary health care
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Nutrition is a public health issue. Amongst populations of refugees, unmet nutritional needs have been identified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the nutritional status of Syrian refugees living outside the refugee camps in Kayseri, Turkey. Socio-demographic data and anthropometric measurements of the refugees were collected. The relationship between diet quality, which was assessed through the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010), and factors (including the duration of time spent outside the refugee camp, income, obesity, and waist circumference) were measured. Four hundred refugees participated in this study. The majority of refugees (77.8%) reported a ‘poor’ diet, with the remaining filling into the ‘needs improvement’ based on HEI-2010 scores. The average consumption of fruits in the study group was 101.9 g per day (g/day), while the average consumption of vegetables was 142.2 g/day. When the relationships were examined between BMI, HEI-2010 score, the time spent as a refugee, and waist circumference, statistically significant relationships were found (p < 0.001). In the linear regression analysis based on these relationships, when the results were adjusted for age and gender factors, it was observed that for every year spent as a refugee, BMI score increased by 0.17 units, and waist circumference increased by 1.14 units (p < 0.05). As a result, this study showed that refugees have low-income-related nutritional risks. In conclusion, ensuring that refugees have access to adequate nutrient-rich food is essential; therefore, analyzing and improving nutritional standards for refugees are suggested to be part of the strategies of the public and primary health care systems.