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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 128-136

Whole Grain Food Products: Knowledge, Availability and Consumption in Oman


1 School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
2 College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
3 Industrial Innovation Center, Sultanate of Oman
4 Atyab Food Tech LLC, Oman Flour Mills, Sultanate of Oman
5 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA

Date of Submission21-Mar-2020
Date of Decision16-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance30-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication20-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Annamalai Manickavasagan
Room 2401, Thornbrough Building, School of Engineering, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijnpnd.ijnpnd_23_20

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   Abstract 


Aims: To assess the consumption, willingness to consume, availability and knowledge of people about the whole grain food products across the Sultanate of Oman. Methods: A self-administered survey was conducted among a convenience sample of adults to assess the consumption, willingness to consume, availability and knowledge about whole grain products across all the nine Governorates of Oman. Results: Almost all respondents (99%, n = 1891) reported that they consume rice and bread at least 4 days per week. Less than 5% of adults indicated that they consume brown rice, whereas 20% to 90% consume whole grain bread. Forty percent of the respondents indicated that they did not know, which type of bread or rice either white or brown, is healthier. Only 20% to 30% of the respondents reported that brown rice or whole wheat bread was available in the market all the time. The various indexes (0 to 1, where 0 as nil and 1 as maximum) developed based on the survey results for the availability, knowledge and willingness to consume whole grain products were 0.36 to 0.87, 0.35 to 0.64 and 0.51 to 0.57 respectively, in different Governorates of Oman. Conclusion: The results indicated that there is an urgent need to educate the Omani people about the nutritional and health benefits of consuming whole grain products and to improve the availability of whole grain food products across Oman.

Keywords: Oman, whole grain consumption, whole grain availability, willingness to change


How to cite this article:
Manickavasagan A, Abbas I, Ali A, Cork L, Khan MA, Claereboudt M, Al-Wardy M, Al-Rahbi S, Reicks M. Whole Grain Food Products: Knowledge, Availability and Consumption in Oman. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2020;10:128-36

How to cite this URL:
Manickavasagan A, Abbas I, Ali A, Cork L, Khan MA, Claereboudt M, Al-Wardy M, Al-Rahbi S, Reicks M. Whole Grain Food Products: Knowledge, Availability and Consumption in Oman. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 25];10:128-36. Available from: http://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2020/10/3/128/292683




   Introduction Top


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) have experienced a rapid transition from a semi-urbanized to a modern urbanized society along with an associated rise in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, cardiometabolic problems, cancers and other non-communicable diseases.[1],[2],[3] The estimated percentage of total deaths due to non-communicable diseases in The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is high (Bahrain-78%, Kuwait-73%, Qatar-69%, Oman-68%, Saudi Arabia-78% and the United Arab Emirates-65%).[4] In Oman, among non-communicable diseases, diet-related cardiovascular problems (49%) and diabetes (15%) are the major diseases causing deaths.[4]. In several Asian countries, such as India, more than 50% of energy intake is through carbohydrate-based foods especially rice.[5] The World Health Organization and regional health authorities recommend increased consumption of whole grains because of their health benefits.[6],[7] Whole grain foods are good sources of health-promoting nutrients, including dietary fiber, resistant starch, antioxidants, trace minerals, certain vitamins, and phytonutrients, which play important roles in disease prevention.[8],[9] Consumption of wholegrains has been shown to reduce the biomarkers of systemic inflammation.[7] The date from various epidemiological studies shows a strong association between whole grain intake and a reduction in risk of coronary heart disease and type 2-diabetes and certain cancers.[10],[11],[12],[13]

Based on the availability of grain types, traditional grain products in the region, and other factors, the recommendations for whole grain intake may vary in different countries. The Omani Guidelines on Healthy Eating recommend that at least one-third of the daily cereal intake should come from whole grain bread and foods that contain whole grains such as Harees (a popular traditional Omani food, usually prepared with whole wheat and chicken) or barley soup.[14] Recommendations for whole grain consumption in other countries include at least 75 g of whole grain per day in 2400 calories (Denmark), three 16 g servings (48 g total) of whole grains per day (USA), half of the grain consumption through whole grains (Canada), and consumption of whole grains from a variety of grain products (UK and Germany).[15],[16] In general, whole grain consumption in Arab countries is decreasing compared to refined grains, leading to decreased fiber in the typical Arabian diet.[17] The fibre intake may be limited because of poor consumer understanding of its health benefits. The continued increase in the availability and consumption of processed food has resulted in a low intake of foods rich in fiber, particularly among children and adolescents.[18]

Several barriers may limit the consumption of whole grain foods such as lack of awareness, lack of understanding about the health benefits, low sensory quality, limited availability, higher price, and lack of familiarity with whole grain preparation methods.[19],[20],[21] Research conducted on dietary intake patterns, particularly about the whole grain consumption in the GCC region, is limited.[1],[2],[18] To the best of our knowledge, no exclusive study has been conducted in Oman on any aspect of whole grain foods related to its consumption, availability, and knowledge about their health benefits. The information about the whole grain consumption patterns, whole grain knowledge, and whole grain availability will be useful for government agencies and food industries to develop strategic plans to improve whole grain consumption among Omani people. The population of Oman is relatively small as compared to its area, and the people living in its various regions have different lifestyles because of its different geographical and environmental conditions (mountains, deserts, beaches, and monsoon areas). The present study was therefore conducted to assess the consumption, willingness to consume, availability and knowledge of people about the whole grain food products across the Sultanate of Oman.


   Experimental Methods Top


Survey team

A team of 12 Omani senior undergraduate female students (Majors: Human Nutrition, Food Science, and Agricultural Engineering) at the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, were recruited as volunteers to conduct this survey. The inclusion criteria for volunteers was the academic merit and representation of all Governorates in Oman. The selected students were briefed for 6 weeks (2 hours per week) about the purpose of the survey and nutritional significance of whole grains in human health. They were trained for data collection and handling methods. The volunteers collected data when they went to their hometowns (place of birth) during the weekends or on holidays.

Survey instrument

A study questionnaire comprising 27 questions was developed. In the first section, the information about demographic characteristics including age, gender, level of education (Primary school (PS), Secondary school (SS), Undergraduate degree (UG), and postgraduate degree (PG)), monthly family income (less than 500 Oman Rial (OMR) (S1), 500-800 OMR (S2), 800-1000 OMR (S3) and more than 1000 OMR (S4), and Governorate or place of birth (hometown) (Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Dhahira, Al-Dakhiliya, Al-Sharqiyah, Al-Wusta, Dhofar, Musandam and Muscat), was collected. The other sections contained questions about the knowledge, availability and consumption of whole grains such as rice and rice products, wheat and wheat products, and other grain products. The survey questionnaire was tested and validated in a pilot study with 10 people for its clarity and comprehension, and appropriate changes were made as needed in the final version. All the questions were formulated in both English and Arabic languages.

Survey Method

The team members went to individual houses, which were randomly selected across the Governorates. They explained the survey questions to the participants. The inclusion criteria were head of the family, father or mother, 18–60 years, Omani citizen. They were briefed in Arabic and were asked to complete the questionnaire. While the participants were completing the questionnaire, the team members did not offer any information unless clarification was requested by participants. Most of the participants completed and returned the Questionnaire at the same time. The completion time varied between 15 and 40 minutes. However, some of the participants asked the team member to come back next day to collect the questionnaire. It took approximately 5 months (September 2012 to Jan 2013) to complete the data collection for the survey. Of 2773 questionnaires distributed in the nine different Governorates of Oman (approximately 0.1% of the total population or 1 per 1000 people), 1891 questionnaires were completed and returned (68% recovery rate). The initial number of questionnaires distributed in each Governorate was based on their relative contribution to population census [Table 1].
Table 1 Number of completed questionnaires received from Omani Citizens of various Governorates

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Statistical analysis and index calculation

Chi-squared tests (χ2 test) were used to determine the effects of four factors (Governorate, gender, family income and education level) on the availability, knowledge, consumption and willingness to consume the whole grain products (α = 0.05).

Questions were grouped to create several indices. A Knowledge Index included three questions (i. which rice is healthier: “brown rice”, “white rice”, “don’t know”; ii. which bread is healthier: “whole wheat bread”, “white bread”, “don’t know”; iii. which flour is healthier: “whole wheat flour”, “white wheat flour”, don’t know”). The correct answer received 1 point, whereas the other two answers received 0 point. An Availability Index was based on the question (Is the product available in your market? brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat flour and other whole grains) with four response options: “yes”, “sometimes”, “no”, “don’t know”. The points given to responses were 1, 0.5 and 0 for “yes”, “sometimes”, and “no”, respectively. The response “don’t know” was not included in the analysis. A Willingness Index included two questions (How often would you be willing to consume brown rice instead of white rice in a week: “7 days”, “3-5 days”, “0 days”; How often would you be willing to consume whole wheat bread instead of white bread in a week: “7 days”, “3-5 days”, “0 days”). The points used for index calculation were 7, 4 and 0 for “7 days”, “3-5 days”, “0 days” responses, respectively. The value was divided by 14 to obtain a 0-1 range (normalization). For the knowledge index, a “do not know” response was assigned ‘0’ point, whereas for the availability index, “do not know” was excluded from the calculation.


   Results and Discussion Top


Grain consumption

Rice

In Oman, 99.7% of people reported that they consume rice at least 4 days in a week, with less than 5% indicating that they consume brown rice [Figure 1]a. In Dhofar, more than 90% of the respondents reported that they consume white rice every day [Figure 3]a. More than 50% of the respondents from other regions reported that they consume only white rice almost seven days a week. People from Al-Wusta region reported that they consume both white and brown rice, however, the consumption of brown rice alone was limited [Figure 1]b. The type of rice consumed was not significantly associated with education level or gender but varied significantly among different Governorates and income level. In general, the percentage of brown rice consumption was higher in Al-Sharqiyah and Al-Wusta Governorates than the remaining Governorates. People in the high-income group (S4: more than 1000 OMR/month) reported consuming more brown rice than their counterparts.
Figure 1 Weekly rice consumption patterns in Oman: (a) total rice and (b) brown rice.

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In the milling process to transform brown rice into white rice, almost all the bran and germ are removed.[22] This process removes 67% of Niacin (vitamin B3), 80% of Thiamin (vitamin B1), 90% of Pyridoxine (vitamin B6), almost half of manganese and phosphorus, 60% of the iron and almost all the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.[23] In the food guide pyramid suggested by Harvard School of Public Health, white rice is placed on the top truncated cone, which means “eat sparingly or do not eat”.[24] In Oman white rice is consumed on a regular basis whereas brown rice is consumed sparingly. In general, rice consumption is part of traditional Omani culture and is consumed by all segments of the population in the country. Around 70% of the people across Oman consume only white rice throughout the week. Reduction in white rice consumption by replacing it with brown rice or other whole grains might provide significant health benefits among Omani people.

Wheat

Wheat bread. Almost 100% of Omanis consume wheat bread, mostly white bread, which is prepared with refined white wheat flour and only a few health-conscious people use whole wheat bread 4 to 7 days in a week [Figure 2]. About 28% of the people from Al-Dhahira and Al-Dakhiliya regions reported that they consume only white bread seven days a week [Figure 3]b, whereas none of the respondents from Al-Wusta and Al-Buraimi regions reported the consumption of white bread only. The frequency of bread consumption varied significantly between Governorates, gender, education and income levels. More than 90% of the respondents from Muscat and Al-Sharqiyah reported that they consume whole wheat bread, but this proportion was only 20% in Al-Wusta and Al-Buraimi. In other regions of Oman, whole wheat bread consumption was 45% to 74% among participants. The probable reasons for these variations might be diversification in population and level of education. Most of the government organizations, ministries and educational institutions are in Muscat, and therefore a higher percentage of educated people live here. Whereas, in the Al-Buraimi and Al-Wusta Governorates, the people live in a small community with minimum population.
Figure 2 Weekly total bread consumption patterns in Oman.

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Figure 3 Consumption of refined grains or flour or grain products in Omani houses: (a) white rice, (b) white bread and (c) white wheat flour.

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In general, whole wheat bread and brown rice were perceived as whole grain foods in many places. For example, bread and cereals were most often named as examples of whole grain foods during a survey on beliefs about whole grain foods.[25] Although in the last decade a number of whole grain products were launched in the global market that significantly increased the number of available products (164 whole grain products in 2000 to 3378 whole grain products in 2011),[26] the consumption of whole grain products still remains low in many parts of the world. Based on an assessment of whole grains intake in children, adolescent and adults in France using a 7-day dietary survey, more than half of the respondents reported that they never consumed any whole grain.[15] Respondents who were consuming whole grain foods reported a very low whole grain intake (about 9.1 g/d in children and 14.4 g/d in adults). Breakfast cereals and bread were the main food sources of whole grains in children and adults, respectively.[15],[26] One-third of Swedish respondents reported mainly the consumption of white bread.[27] The results of a British study showed that the whole grain consumption, in young people from 4 to 18 years old, did not differ significantly based on gender, age, region or season and 27% of the participants didn’t consume any whole grain products at all.[28] The main sources of whole grains were breakfast cereals (56%) and bread (25%). van Kleef and colleagues[29] demonstrated that presenting fun-shaped whole wheat bread rolls almost doubled the consumption among primary school children in Netherlands. Therefore, different innovative strategies should be developed and implemented by Government agencies and the food industry to promote whole grain consumption among children and adults in Oman.

Use of wheat flours Approximately 95% of the respondents in our study reported that they buy wheat flour and make products at home with less than 10% indicating whether they bought whole wheat flour. About 64% of the respondents bought only refined wheat flour, and 29% bought both refined wheat flour and whole wheat flour. All people (100%) living in Al-Wusta and Al-Buraimi Governorates reported that they only buy the refined wheat flour [Figure 3]c. The purchase of wheat flour to make products at home is significantly affected by the Governorate and level of education. The purchase of wheat flour was significantly lower in the highly educated postgraduate group than other education groups. Maybe because most of them were employed and did not find time for cooking at home. Similarly, the purchase of flour to make products at home was significantly lower among people living in Muscat and Al-Sharqiyah than other regions, probably due to the lifestyle and work nature of people living in these regions. The type of wheat flour purchased was influenced by all four factors. In general, a higher percentage of male respondents in the postgraduate group, S1 income (less than 500 OMR/month) categories reported purchasing whole wheat flour than their corresponding counterparts. Omani people from low-income families buy more wheat flour to make Rekhal (a type of thin bread) at home, potentially explaining why the increased purchase of whole wheat flour was observed among the low-income category.[30]

None of the respondents from Al-Wusta and Al-Buraimi reported that they purchase whole wheat flour to make products at home. The main products made from wheat flour are Samoon (medium rising burger bun), Khubz (flat bread) and Rekhal (thin bread). Rekhal is prepared in the highest number of houses, and Samoon is prepared in the lowest number of houses. More than 80% of the people living in Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Wusta and Dhofar reported that they prepared Rekhal at home. Women living in these regions, in general, are housewives and their lifestyle allows them to make Rekhal at home. In other places like Muscat, there are many coffee shops specialized in selling Rekhal bread, and some people prepare this bread at home and sell it to the neighbors. Furthermore, most of the women in Muscat are working, so they prefer to buy Rekhal rather than making it at home. The type of wheat products prepared at home varied with respect to the Governorate, education level and income groups. For example, more people in Al-Dhahira and less people in Muscat reported that they made Rekhal at home than in other regions. Many people living in Muscat also reported making products other than Khubz, Rekhal and Samoon at home.

Cereal grains other than rice and wheat

For other types of cereal grains, approximately 60% of the respondents reported that they consume corn (maize). In regions, like Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi and Al-Wusta, the proportion of respondents consuming corn was 70% to 80%. More than 35% of corn production in Oman is in the Al-Batinah region.[31] Between 80% and 100% of the people in Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Wusta, Al-Dhofar and Muscat regions reported making products with other cereal grains at home. The consumption of oats and barley was almost zero except in Muscat and Al-Sharqiyah. The consumption of oats was the highest (31%) in the Al-Sharqiyah region. In general, people living in these areas are educated and curious to explore new food products.

Whole grain availability

Overall, only 20% of the respondents reported that brown rice was available in their regions. More than 50% of respondents living in six Governorates of Oman reported that brown rice was not available in their region. In Dhofar, only 3% of the people reported that brown rice was available [Figure 4]a. Similarly, about 70% of the respondents reported that whole wheat bread was either not available or only sometimes available in the market, and they did not know when it was available. In Al-Buraimi, Al-Wusta and Al-Dhofar regions, <10% of the people reported about the availability of whole wheat bread in their region [Figure 4]b. Overall, only <25% of the respondents reported about the availability of whole wheat flour in their area. The highest percentage (69%) of the population, who reported the availability of whole wheat flour in their area was from the Al-Sharqiyah Governorate [Figure 4]c. Most of the respondents with primary education reported that they did not know the availability of whole grain products in their region. Whole wheat bread was available in only 23% of the surveyed stores. Similar results have been reported from the rural setting of the USA, where oatmeal was the only whole grain product, which was only available in less than half of the stores.[32] The major barrier to promote consumption of whole grain products in the school environment was the lack of availability in school cafeterias because of taste, quality, nutrition and poor packaging.[33] Rosen et al.[34] observed that the intake of whole grain food products in children was associated with their availability at home.
Figure 4 Availability of whole grain products in Oman: (a) brown rice, (b) whole wheat bread and (c) whole wheat flour.

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Availability index

The availability index (relative score) for whole grains and their products in Oman was 0.71, 0.86, 0.72, 0.71, 0.36, 0.72, 0.60, 0.79 and 0.87 for Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Dhahira, Al-Dakhiliya, Al-Dhofar, Musandam, Muscat, Al-Sharqiyah and Al-Wusta Governorates, respectively. In general, the availability index in Oman is more than 0.6 in almost all governorates except Dhofar. In addition to low demand, difficulties in transportation of whole grain products to the Dhofar region from other regions especially from Muscat (which is located at the South end of Oman, more than 1000 kilometer away from Muscat) impedes their availability in the market. Since the availability of whole grain products in the Dhofar region was very low, efforts must be made to improve the presence of whole grain products on the market shelves. In general, irrespective of willingness and awareness, the availability is a major determinant in the consumption of whole grain products. About 30% of college students in Muscat reported that the lack of availability was the main barrier for the consumption of healthy foods.[35]

Whole grain knowledge

On the average 58%, 60% and 50% of people living in Oman reported that brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole wheat flour were healthier than their refined counterpart, respectively. Around one-third of respondents reported that they did not know which rice or bread was healthier [Figure 5]. The Governorate in which the respondents resided had a significant effect on the understanding of the healthfulness of whole grains. Male respondents correctly reported the healthfulness of whole wheat flour and bread more often than females. There was no formal education for Omani woman before 1970 and therefore a limited number of females (only 27%) were part of the Omani labor force, which is not the situation today.[35] Also, in Omani culture, generally, the men are involved in shopping for groceries. More respondents with higher education (UG and PG) correctly reported the healthfulness of whole grain products than the other respondents with primary and secondary school education. Most respondents with a low income (less than 500 OMR/month) mentioned that they did not know which product was healthier.
Figure 5 Response to the questions about knowledge on healthy food products: (a) healthy rice and (b) healthy bread.

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Whole grain knowledge among different groups of people across the world has been widely studied. Arvola et al.[20] examined the consumer’s beliefs about whole grains in the UK, Italy and Finland with self-administered questionnaires. They reported that only one-third of the people perceived that refined grain products are an inferior option as compared to whole grain products with respect to health and functional properties. In the USA, school food service personnel (SFP) expressed limited knowledge about whole grain foods, ingredients, and use of product information related to ordering and purchasing of food in the school system.[33] Most college students (64%) in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, incorrectly identified wheat pasta as whole grain and 72% failed to identify popcorn as whole grain.[36] In a qualitative study about the perceptions of brown rice in Indian adults, the awareness about nutritive properties of brown rice was poor and was cited as a major barrier to its acceptance.[7] The participants suggested that promoting the health benefits of brown rice could serve to popularize it and increase its consumption. An interesting study revealed that there is a positive relationship between whole grain consumption of adolescents and their friend’s healthy eating behavior.[37] Whole grain knowledge is required not only for consumption by individuals, but it is also important for people who work in the food service sectors. Whole grain education for school food service personnel, for instance, may increase the awareness and menu placement and increase opportunities for whole grain consumption by children.[38]

Knowledge index

The knowledge index of people related to the healthfulness of whole grain products in various Governorates was 0.57, 0.36, 0.64, 0.64, 0.56, 0.64, 0.55, 0.64 and 0.35 for Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Dhahira, Al-Dakhiliya, Dhofar, Musandam, Muscat, Al-Sharqiyah and Al-Wusta, respectively. The respondents living in Al-Wusta and Al-Buraimi had the lowest values on this index (0.35-0.36) indicating that they might require education on health benefits of whole grains. In general, people living in these areas have relatively lower education level and awareness of whole grain foods as compared to other regions of Oman. The overall knowledge index for both male and females was 0.58. It was 0.48, 0.53, 0.62 and 0.63 for people with PS, SS, UG and PG education, respectively. Similarly, the knowledge index was 0.59, 0.53, 0.58 and 0.65 for S1, S2, S3 and S4 income groups, respectively.

Willingness to consume whole grains

About 80% of the people in Oman reported that they are willing to consume brown rice 4 to 7 days a week by replacing white rice [Figure 6]a, but 40% of the people living in Al-Sharqiyah region were not willing to consume brown rice at all. Similarly, around 90% of the people are willing to consume whole wheat bread 4 to 7 days a week as a substitute for refined wheat bread [Figure 6]b. In a self-reported survey on knowledge about healthy eating among the college students from 10 colleges in Muscat, more than 90% of the participants showed interest in learning more about healthy diets and changing their eating behaviour.[34] Therefore simple and interesting materials are needed to educate students about healthy diets.[34] Ha and Caine-Bish[39] evaluated the whole grain consumption by college students (18 to 24 years) after the completion of an interactive introductory nutrition course. Whole grain intake significantly increased from 10.5 g to 32.9 g on a daily basis without changing total grain intake (87.0 g). A general nutrition course could be used as an avenue to increase the whole grain intake by college students.[39]
Figure 6 Willingness expressed by Omanis to consume whole grain products: (a) brown rice and (b) whole wheat bread.

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Willingness to consume index

The willingness index for whole grain consumption was almost similar across various regions of Oman: 0.55, 0.57, 0.53, 0.53, 0.57, 0.51, 0.55, 0.52 and 0.55 for people living in Al-Batinah, Al-Buraimi, Al-Dahira, Al-Dakhiliya, Dhofar, Musandum, Muscat, Al-Sharqiyah and Al-Wusta Governorates, respectively. The willingness index was between 0.53 and 0.56 among different income and education groups. These findings indicate that the majority of people responding to the survey were willing to make healthy dietary modifications by increasing whole grain intake.


   Conclusion Top


A detailed survey was conducted to assess the whole grain consumption, willingness to consume whole grain-based food products, whole grain knowledge and availability of whole grain-based food products in the Sultanate of Oman. Ninety-nine per cent of the respondents reported the consumption of rice and bread at least 4 days per week. However, only < 5% of adults indicated that they consume brown rice, whereas 20% to 90% were consuming whole grain bread. The various indexes developed based on the survey results for the availability, knowledge and willingness to consume the whole grain food products produced variable responses from different Governorates of Oman. Since the responses in different Governorates varied significantly for all whole grain food products’ concepts, the awareness and promotion strategies should be tailored to specific regions. The results indicated that there is an urgent need to educate the Omani people about the nutritional and health benefits of consuming whole grains products and to improve the availability of whole grain foods products across Oman. The information collected in this survey could be used by health practitioners, government agencies and food industries to promote whole grain consumption in different regions and sectors of the Omani population.

Limitation of this study

As the results presented in this paper are solely based on self-administered surveys from a limited number of families, this information may not be considered as representative of a broader Omani population. Further studies on the actual whole grain consumption patterns using 24 hour dietary recalls, 7-day food diaries or other systematic methods to assess food intake may provide more accurate information on whole grain consumption patterns in Oman.

Acknowledgements

The services of Messers Ahmed Muslem Salam Al-Mufarg, Ahmed Al-Souti, Abdullah Said Masoud Al-Mezeini, Rihal Said Salim Al Hashmi, Ahlam Salim Ali Al Sulti, Aysha Rashid N. Al Badi, Ibtisam Khamis Salim Al Mamari, Fathiya Mohammed Al Hadhrami, Azza Al Hadhrami, Iman Al-Hagri, Iman Mohammed Al Badawi, Thouraya Ali Al Jahwari, Duaa Al- Harrasi, Alaa Al Hinai, Kathiya Ali Al-Aufi, Khalsah Salim Al Hashmi, Asma Talib Al Hadhrami and Maruj Saif Al Sadi are also acknowledged for their help and support in data collection during this survey.

Financial support and sponsorship

Authors would like to sincerely acknowledge the Industrial Innovation Center (IIC) and Atyab Food Tech LLC, Oman Flour Mills Company for the financial support under the project “Whole wheat product development and awareness creation in Oman”.Conflict of interests

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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