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Scholars Day 2006, Wednesday, April 12

Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of College Student Food Choice

As part of a larger study of food choice, this paper presents a thematic analysis of perceived influences on food choice and statistical descriptions of actual food choices of 93 college students. These students had a mean BMI of 25.1, with 44.1% being overweight (BMI > 25). Nearly half (46.2%) engaged in moderate exercise less than three times per week. Students were offered a $5 lunch at the college food court with the instructions to select a healthy lunch. Thematic analyses of responses regarding perceived influences identified taste/preference, price/convenience, health/nutrition and the effect of being in the study. Quantitatively, the nutritional qualities of the “healthy lunch” consumed by students differed for males and females on a number of variables. For example, men consumed significantly more calories (M = 945.0) than women (M = 624.5). Women scored significantly higher on a measure of nutritional knowledge, but not on self-efficacy to eat healthier foods. These descriptive findings have implications for understanding and affecting the dietary behavior and obesity epidemic in the college population.

Presenters: Jason Ayles (Undergraduate Student)
Douglas Scheidt (Faculty)
Topic: Health Science
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 11:25 am (Session II)