The relationship between food frequency and menstrual distress in high school females

Soheila Mohamadirizi, Masoumeh Kordi


Background: Nutrition pattern is one of the important factors predicting menstrual distress, which varies among different cultures and countries. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between food frequency and menstrual distress in high school girls from Mashhad.


Materials and Methods: This cross‑sectional study was conducted in 2012 using a two‑stage sampling method on 407 high school female students from Mashhad who met the inclusion criteria. Subjects completed questionnaires of demographic characteristics, food frequency, and Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) during three phases of the menstrual cycle (a week before bleeding, during menstrual bleeding period, and a week after menstruation). The collected data were analyzed by statistical tests such as Pearson correlation coefficient test, independent Student’s t‑test, and one‑way analysis of variance (ANOVA).


Results: Results showed that 87.7% of the students were at moderate economic status, 82.2% were exposed to cigarette smoke, 94.8% had mothers without university education, and 9.4% had working mothers. About 71% of the students reported minor pre‑menstruation distress, 81% reported minor distress during bleeding, and 39% reported minor post‑menstruation distress. In addition, the mean (SD) values for sweet–fatty foods, salty–fatty foods, fast foods, and caffeine were 3.6, 3.3, 1.3, and 10.2 per week, respectively. In addition, Pearson correlation coefficient test showed no significant correlation between total menstruation distress and food frequency (P > 0.05).


Conclusions: With regard to the inappropriate food frequency and high intensity of menstrual distress among high school students and as health care and educational efforts for prevention and health promotion in society are among the duties of health workers, the results of this study can help the officials involved in education to emphasize on nutrition and the menstrual health of students.




Food frequency; menstrual distress; student

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