Caroline Gheen, Sean Murray, Sophie Ryczek

Nutritional Knowledge and Wellness in College Students; Plate Savvy

Our present study analyzed the nutritional knowledge of college students and how it relates to how they look at food packages, their diet, level of self efficacy, and socioeconomic status. We also theorized that students would fall into two cohorts: “plate” or “percentage.” “Plate people” would ascribe to a more visually balanced diet while “percent people” would prioritize a more mathematically balanced diet. Participants were tested on nutritional knowledge, daily eating habits, and self efficacy through various surveys and observed 5 food packages for 12 seconds through an eye tracker. It was discovered that socioeconomic status did not have a significant relationship with participants’ nutritional knowledge, how they viewed food packages, or their self efficacy. A significant relationship was discovered between nutritional knowledge and eating habits, as participants with a higher level of nutritional knowledge tended to have a more balanced diet. Additionally, participants were able to be categorized into “plate” or “percent” with more ascribing to the “plate” cohort, as was hypothesized. Future research can be conducted on how to make food labels more effective and how to further improve college students’ nutritional knowledge and habits through nutritional classes or social media.

Additionally, we conducted a study on college-students’ knowledge of the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines. Participants were presented with a blank plate and ½, ⅓, ¼, and circle portions labeled with protein, dairy, grain, vegetables, and fruit and asked to reconstruct the MyPlate or a healthy meal. After completing this portion, participants were given a correct MyPlate and 14 pieces of fake food and asked to correctly place the food in their correct food group. Overall, participants correctly created a MyPlate with 54% accuracy with only ⅓ of the participants including all 5 of the correct food groups. Participants correctly placed food in their group with 74% accuracy. There were no significant relationships found between participants ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or sex and their ability to correctly create a MyPlate. While our study presented a higher MyPlate awareness with MyPlate guidelines than previous literature, further research could be conducted on a broader population to better discover if the general population is familiar with MyPlate and also how to improve awareness of MyPlate and a healthy diet in students.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: