Special Issue "Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Rickelle Richards
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science, Brigham Young University, S233 Eyring Science Center, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Interests: food insecurity; low-income populations; homelessness; college students
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nutrients is creating a special journal issue on “Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students.” As has been shown in the literature, college students tend to consume inadequate amounts of fruits and vegetables and excess amounts of highly processed foods. These eating patterns may in turn lead to negative health outcomes. Barriers associated with less favorable eating patterns among college students have included lack of time and self-efficacy in eating healthy meals; limited availability of healthy foods; influence of social networks; inadequate cooking skills; and food insecurity. Previous nutrition interventions have been implemented to improve college students’ food choices, such as nutrition education through videos, text messages and web-based avenues, in-class and web-based cooking demonstrations, and modifications at on-campus eating locations; however, not all of these interventions have been shown to be effective in changing behavior.

This current special issue invites manuscript submissions related to the latest research surrounding college students’ eating patterns/dietary intake and/or interventions that have aimed to promote optimal eating patterns/dietary intake among college students.

Dr. Rickelle Richards
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • College Students
  • Eating patterns
  • Dietary intake
  • Food choices
  • Nutrition Intervention

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and Its Association with Body Composition and Physical Fitness in Spanish University Students
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2830; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112830 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
The aims of this study were to assess the association of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) with physical fitness and body composition in Spanish university students and to determine the ability to predict the MD adherence of each Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener [...] Read more.
The aims of this study were to assess the association of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) with physical fitness and body composition in Spanish university students and to determine the ability to predict the MD adherence of each Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) item. A cross-sectional study was performed involving 310 first-year university students. Adherence to the MD was evaluated with MEDAS-14 items. Anthropometric variables, body composition, and physical fitness were assessed. Muscle strength was determined based on handgrip strength and the standing long jump test. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was measured using the Course–Navette test. Only 24% of the university students had good adherence to the MD. The ANCOVA models showed a significant difference between participants with high adherence to the MD and those with medium and low adherence in CRF (p = 0.017) and dynamometry (p = 0.005). Logistic binary regression showed that consuming >2 vegetables/day (OR = 20.1; CI: 10.1–30.1; p < 0.001), using olive oil (OR = 10.6; CI: 1.4–19.8; p = 0.021), consuming <3 commercial sweets/week (OR = 10.1; IC: 5.1–19.7; p < 0.001), and consuming ≥3 fruits/day (OR = 8.8; CI: 4.9–15.7; p < 0.001) were the items most associated with high adherence to the MD. In conclusion, a high level of adherence to the MD is associated with high-level muscular fitness and CRF in Spanish university students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
Article
‘Oh God, I Have to Eat Something, But Where Can I Get Something Quickly?’—A Qualitative Interview Study on Barriers to Healthy Eating among University Students in Germany
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2440; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102440 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2126
Abstract
Healthy eating can prevent individuals across all age groups from developing overweight/obesity and non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, unhealthy eating habits (e.g., a high level of fast food consumption) have been found to be widespread among university [...] Read more.
Healthy eating can prevent individuals across all age groups from developing overweight/obesity and non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, unhealthy eating habits (e.g., a high level of fast food consumption) have been found to be widespread among university students. Thus, it seems necessary to develop prevention strategies to improve students’ eating habits. However, to ensure that such strategies are successful, it is important that they fit the needs of the target population. By conducting qualitative interviews with students (n = 20), we aimed to get a deeper understanding of barriers to healthy eating. Students were asked about barriers to healthy eating and to suggest possible ideas that could improve their eating behavior in the future. Our findings revealed that students are especially affected by time-related barriers (e.g., a lack of time due to university commitment) and environmental barriers (e.g., a lack of cheap, tasty, and healthy meal options at the university canteen). Time-related barriers were also related to motivational barriers (e.g., being too lazy to cook after a busy day at university). In addition, knowledge/information-related barriers, social-support-related barriers, and transition-related barriers emerged from our interviews. The variety of barriers addressed and the different views on some of these, indicate that various strategies seem to be needed to improve the eating behavior among university students and to prevent them from gaining weight and developing non-communicable diseases in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
Article
Evaluating Potential Behavioral Mediators for Increasing Similarity in Friends’ Body Size among College Students
Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 1996; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11091996 - 23 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
College students and their friends become more similar in weight status over time. However, it is unclear which mediators explain this relationship. Using validated survey measures of diet, physical activity, alcohol intake, sleep behaviors, mental health, and food security status, we take a [...] Read more.
College students and their friends become more similar in weight status over time. However, it is unclear which mediators explain this relationship. Using validated survey measures of diet, physical activity, alcohol intake, sleep behaviors, mental health, and food security status, we take a comprehensive look at possible factors associated with excess weight gain that may explain friends’ convergence on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, and waist to height ratio over time. We use linear mixed models applied to a longitudinal dataset of first-year college students to examine whether these variables satisfy two criteria for potential candidate mediators of friends’ influence on anthropometrics—cross-sectional similarity among friends (n = 509) and longitudinal associations with increasing anthropometrics (n = 428). While friends were similar on some survey measures (such as dining hall use, home cooked meal consumption, fruit intake, alcohol intake, hours of sleep, and stress). Only dining hall use and stress emerged as potential explanations for why friends’ BMI and anthropometric change may be similar. Given that only a few variables satisfied the two criteria as potential mediators, future research may need to consider alternative measurement approaches, including real-time assessments, objective measurements, and alternative factors causing the convergence of friends’ and college students’ body size over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
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Article
Assessment of Dietary Under-Reporting in Italian College Team Sport Athletes
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1391; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061391 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1831
Abstract
Background: Nutrition is an important factor for sports performance and the assessment of dietary intakes in athletes can correct unhealthy eating habits. However, dietary assessment may be biased due to misreporting. The aim of our study was to investigate the occurrence of misreporting [...] Read more.
Background: Nutrition is an important factor for sports performance and the assessment of dietary intakes in athletes can correct unhealthy eating habits. However, dietary assessment may be biased due to misreporting. The aim of our study was to investigate the occurrence of misreporting in a sample of collegiate team sport athletes. Methods: A total of 50 athletes participated. Each athlete filled in food records for seven days. Reported energy intake (EI) was considered in relation to the predicted basal metabolic rate (BMR) and expressed as the ratio EI/ BMR. All participants with EI/BMRestd ≤1.23 were classified as “low energy reporters” (LER), and those with an EI/BMRestd ratio >1.23 were classified as “adequate energy reporters” (AER). Results: According to cut-off values for under-reporting, 28 out of 50 athletes (56%) were classified as LER. The LER (16 M/12 F) had significantly higher BMI (23.17 ± 3.46 kg/m2 compared to 21.41 ± 1.91 kg/m2; p = 0.038) than the AER. The EI/kg fat free mass (FFM) was significantly lower in LER than the AER (33.34 ± 6.56 kcal/FFM compared to 48.51 ± 8.59 kcal/FFM, p < 0.0001). Nutrient intake was also significantly different between the two groups. Conclusions: Our results suggest that under-reporting of energy intake by collegiate team sport athletes may occur frequently and needs to be taken into consideration in the interpretation of nutrient intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
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Article
Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the Eating Advice to Students (EATS) Brief Web-Based Nutrition Intervention for Young Adult University Students: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040905 - 23 Apr 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2364
Abstract
Young adult university students are a priority population for nutrition intervention. This study assessed the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the EATS (Eating Advice to Students) brief (i.e., single use) web-based nutrition intervention for young adult university students. A 3-month pilot randomized controlled [...] Read more.
Young adult university students are a priority population for nutrition intervention. This study assessed the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the EATS (Eating Advice to Students) brief (i.e., single use) web-based nutrition intervention for young adult university students. A 3-month pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted with 124 students aged 17–35 from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Participants were randomized to EATS (n = 62) or attention control (n = 62). EATS aimed to improve four target eating behaviors (vegetables, fruit, discretionary foods, breakfast). Primary outcomes were feasibility (recruitment, retention, usage, program acceptability). Recruitment and retention numbers were recorded, the program acceptability was assessed by a process evaluation survey and the website usage was objectively tracked. Preliminary efficacy was assessed via changes in diet quality (primary), fruit, vegetables, discretionary foods and breakfast intake, measured using Food Frequency Questionnaire. Recruitment was completed in five weeks. Retention was 73% (90/124) at 3-months. Intervention participants used EATS 1.5 ± 1.0 times. Satisfaction with EATS was rated at 4.04 ± 0.74 (maximum five). Intervention participants significantly decreased the percentage energy/day from discretionary foods compared with control (−4.8%, 95%CI −8.6, −1.1, p = 0.012, d = −0.34). No significant between-group differences were observed for diet quality, fruit, vegetable or breakfast intakes. EATS demonstrated high feasibility, particularly for reach and acceptability. The university setting and a brief web-based intervention show promise in engaging young adults to improve their eating behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
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Article
Food Insecure College Students and Objective Measurements of Their Unused Meal Plans
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040904 - 23 Apr 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2553
Abstract
Some researchers have proposed the prevalence of food insecurity among college students is high due to students’ meal plans providing insufficient meals. The association between college students’ food security status and their meal plans have not yet been examined. In this study, United [...] Read more.
Some researchers have proposed the prevalence of food insecurity among college students is high due to students’ meal plans providing insufficient meals. The association between college students’ food security status and their meal plans have not yet been examined. In this study, United States (US) first year college students (N = 534) self-reported their food security status in the Fall 2015 and/or Spring 2016 semester(s). Objective measures of students’ meal plans were obtained from the university. Logistic generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were used to determine if students’ meal plan, and meal plan use, predicted food insecurity. Linear GEEs were used to examine several potential reasons for lower meal plan use. We found that students did not use all of their available meals. Compared to students on the most expensive (unlimited) meal plan, students on the cheapest (8 meals/week) meal plan were the most likely to report food insecurity (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.2, 4.1). However, in the Fall semester, 26% of students on unlimited meal plans also reported food insecurity. For students on the 180 meals/semester meal plan, food insecurity was associated with using fewer meals (OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.8, 1.0). Students who worked tended to use their meal plan less (β = −1.3, 95% CI = −2.3, −0.3). Students are reporting food insecurity while having meals left in their meal plan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)

Review

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Review
Vegetable Consumption and Factors Associated with Increased Intake among College Students: A Scoping Review of the Last 10 Years
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1634; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071634 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2704
Abstract
Vegetable consumption is a predictor for improved health outcomes, such as reduced obesity and likelihood of food-related noncommunicable diseases. Young adults are a key population, being in a transitional stage-of-life: Habits gained here are taken through the lifespan. This review establishes insight into [...] Read more.
Vegetable consumption is a predictor for improved health outcomes, such as reduced obesity and likelihood of food-related noncommunicable diseases. Young adults are a key population, being in a transitional stage-of-life: Habits gained here are taken through the lifespan. This review establishes insight into the consumption of vegetables among young adults during their college/university years, and factors associated with increased consumption. Seventy-one papers were extracted, published between January 2009 and October 2018. Search terms related to consumption; vegetables; and college/university setting and sample. A diverse range of definitions, guidelines, and study approaches were observed. Findings identify that the majority of students do not consume World Health Organization recommendations. Being female was the most frequent predictor of higher intake of vegetables, and no consumption patterns were identified by countries. Living at family home; body mass index; happiness and stress level; perceived importance of healthy eating; socioeconomic level; breakfast consumption; stage of study; openness to new experiences; sleep pattern; nutrition knowledge; activity level; alcohol usage; and energy intake were identified as influential factors. Public policies and new strategies to encourage vegetable consumption among college students are indispensable, especially targeting subgroups with even lower intakes, such as males and those living outside family home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Patterns in College Students)
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