Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey Greene

Abstract

Objective: To determine if environmentally conscious eating, also known as Green Eating (GE), was associated with dietary quality among university students.

Design: Non-randomized cross-sectional analysis at baseline.

Setting: A northeastern university.

Participants: University students (n=26) aged 18-24 years, with a campus meal plan, and a body mass index (BMI) greater than 18.5 kg/m2.

Main Outcome Measures: Healthy Eating Index (HEI) - 2005 score.

Analysis: GE Stage of Change (SOC) was assessed by an online survey administered to first and second year students. Subjects were eligible if they were in the precontemplation SOC (PC) (n=18) or the action/maintenance SOC (AM) (n=8). Three 24-hour food recalls were collected using the 2012 Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) program and HEI scores were calculated.

Results: Mean BMI was 24.4 ± 4.3 kg/m2, mean age was 18.3 ± 0.5 y, and the majority were female (65%). The groups did not differ by HEI (PC=55.9 ± 12.3; AM = 59.1 ± 13.0). AM consumed significantly more dietary fiber per day than PC (PC =13.6 ± 4.7 g; AM = 18.8 ± 7.7 g) and consumed significantly less processed meats compared to PC (p < 0.01). There were no differences between groups for intake of saturated fat, sodium, fruits, or vegetables.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings suggest better dietary quality among those practicing GE. Future research with larger sample sizes is needed as the promotion of GE may provide an opportunity to improve dietary quality in US university students.

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