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Open AccessArticle

Relationship between Diet and Mental Health in a Young Adult Appalachian College Population

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Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, 4100 Agricultural Sciences Building, P.O. Box 6108, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA
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Human Nutrition and Foods, Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, G25 Agricultural Sciences Building, 333 Evansdale, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10080957
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
Young adults in Appalachia may face poor nutritional status due to low access to healthy food and high mental health symptoms attributed to high stress and the college environment. A cross-sectional design was used to investigate the relationship between diet intake and mental health status of this population via surveys. Participant responses (n = 1956) showed students’ mean number of depressed days over the past 30 days was 9.67 ± 8.80, and of anxious days, 14.1 ± 10.03. The mean fruit and vegetable intake was 1.80 ± 1.27 times per day and the mean added sugars intake was 1.79 ± 1.26 times per day. 36.7% of students were found to be food insecure. One-way ANOVA and Chi-Squared analyses were used to determine relationship between variables. Significant variables were placed into a full logistic regression model. Food insecurity and fruit and vegetable intake remained significant predictors of depression in males (odds ratio (OR) = 2.33 95% CI 1.47–3.71 and OR = 68 95% CI 50–89, respectively) and in females food insecurity remained a significant predictor of depression (OR = 2.26 95% CI 1.67–3.07). Food insecurity and added sugars intake were significant predictor of anxiety in males (OR = 2.33 95% CI 1.47–3.71 and OR = 1.09 95% CI 0.91–1.3, respectively) and for anxiety in females, added sugars intake and food insecurity were significant predictors (OR = 1.18 95% CI 1.05–1.32 and OR = 1.65 95% CI 1.27–2.16, respectively). Improving college student’s diet intake through increased access to healthy foods could improve the mental health and well-being of students. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; young adult; diet quality; food insecurity; college; student mental health; young adult; diet quality; food insecurity; college; student
MDPI and ACS Style

Wattick, R.A.; Hagedorn, R.L.; Olfert, M.D. Relationship between Diet and Mental Health in a Young Adult Appalachian College Population. Nutrients 2018, 10, 957.

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