Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Major

Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Ruth E. Litchfield

Abstract

ABSTRACT

As higher education becomes more prominent and prevalent across the country and around the world, its presence influences many individuals in multiple different capacities. The emphasis placed on learning within this setting can be employed not only to improve mental attributes but also physical well-being. A majority of campuses are equipped with expertise and resources to enhance physical well-being and elicit health behavior change among both college students and university employees. As the overall health of these populations continues to decline, particularly in the areas of food and nutrition, it is essential to explore current behaviors as well as identify and develop future strategies that promote physical well-being within the campus setting.

Current Behaviors

College Students

A survey comprised of individual validated and reliable instruments was delivered via online survey software (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) and disseminated as a mass email to all students enrolled at a large land-grant university in the Midwest. Scores from each individual instrument were determined to measure eating competence, food/nutrition aptitudes, and dietary intake within the target population. All data analyses were conducted using Statistical Package for Social Sciences software program (IBM SPSS v24). Descriptive statistics, independent samples t-tests, and correlations were completed to assess various demographic variables, eating competence, food/nutrition aptitudes, and dietary intake among college students. Of those who participated, 615 completed the entire survey and were included in data analyses. Participants categorized as eating competent (n=333, 54%) had significantly higher food/nutrition aptitudes (p<0.01) and superior dietary intake (p≤0.03) compared to participants categorized as eating incompetent (n=282, 46%). All correlations between eating competence, aptitudes, and intake were identified as moderate (r=0.23-0.33) and statistically significant (p<0.01). Outcomes from the survey indicate marginal eating competence, food/nutrition aptitudes, and dietary intake among college students. Results also suggest a positive correlation exists between eating competence and other measured aptitudes and intake within the target population. Future research is warranted to further explore the role of eating competence as well as its connections to other food/nutrition aptitudes and dietary intake among college students.

Future Strategies

College Students

A nutrition education program, Culinary Boot Camp (CBC), was developed and delivered to students at a large land-grant university in the Midwest. Online surveys (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) composed of individual validated and reliable instruments assessed various food/nutrition aptitudes as well as dietary intake pre- to post- intervention. Again, all data analyses were completed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences software program (IBM SPSS v24). A total of 86 college students participated in CBC, with 71 completing pre-surveys and 46 completing post-surveys. A statistically significant change occurred within several food/nutrition aptitudes (p≤0.05); those with the greatest improvements included cooking skills/attitudes and grocery shopping self-efficacy (p<0.01). Trends towards change were observed within overall dietary intake, with convenience food consumption (p=0.03) and fruit/vegetable servings (p=0.06) changing most pre- to post- intervention. Results from the intervention indicate CBC may be an effective nutrition education program to enhance food/nutrition aptitudes and encourage better dietary intake among college students. Additional research is required to support and establish the positive outcomes and success of CBC.

College Students vs. University Employees

The nutrition education program CBC was developed and delivered to students and employees at a large Midwestern land-grant university. Online surveys (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) served as the primary evaluation tool to examine participant food/nutrition aptitudes and dietary intake pre- to post-intervention. Again, Statistical Package for Social Sciences software program (IBM SPSS v24) was used for all data analyses. Of the 86 student/92 employee participants, 71/66 completed pre-surveys and 46/50 completed post-surveys. Most student aptitudes demonstrated statistically significant improvements (p≤0.05), while trends towards improvement (p≤0.10) were observed within intake measures. All aptitudes and most intake measures improved significantly among employee participants (p≤0.02). All participants demonstrated the greatest improvements in cooking skills/attitudes and grocery shopping self-efficacy pre- to post-intervention (p<0.01). Employees exhibited significantly greater improvements (p≤0.02) in almost all food/nutrition aptitudes, but most dietary intake improvements were comparable between the two participant groups. Results from the intervention suggest CBC is an effective nutrition education program to develop food/nutrition aptitudes and promote better dietary intake among university students and employees alike. Future research is recommended to further investigate the impact of CBC on food/nutrition aptitudes and dietary intake across diverse populations, both on- and off-campus.

Copyright Owner

Jessica Rose Szczepanski

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

418 pages

Available for download on Friday, July 23, 2021

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