Nutrition and Dietetics


Greene, Geoffrey, W

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences




Sustainability; green; nutrition; education; stages of change; Trans Theoretical Model


The “Green Eating” Project: A Pilot Intervention to Promote Sustainable and Healthy Eating in College Students

Kelleigh Eastman

Sponsor: Geoffrey Greene, Nutrition and Dietetics

A topic of interest that is growing in the general population is the idea of being sustainable, or “green”, and there is a rising awareness in sustainable practices involving food and the environment. Some of the “green” eating behaviors identified through my research included eating a plant-based (i.e. vegetarian or semi-vegetarian) diet, eating locally grown foods, eating organically grown foods, and eating foods that are labeled fair-trade. Frequently, these “green” eating behaviors are healthful eating behaviors because they promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The basis of this study was that a “green” eating intervention could promote a more sustainable diet as well as a healthier one. Since college students may sometimes find it difficult to adhere to many of these “green” behaviors, I incorporated many URI and campus meal plan-specific suggestions within the learning modules and messages. I tried to make learning about sustainable eating fun and applicable to URI college students using SAKAI as the intervention platform.

Currently, there are no known nutrition interventions promoting healthful eating through “green” practices. This project was a yearlong pilot study which aimed to develop four educational modules and a series of motivational messages to help promote sustainable eating behaviors in college students. This study was a randomized controlled trial which tested the effects of a multimedia-based intervention on behavior change, self-efficacy, and decisional balance of “green eating” habits.

Web-based, stage-tailored interventions have shown to be effective in changing many health-related behaviors including dietary behaviors. The interventions were designed applying the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (Stages of Change, Decisional Balance, and Self-Efficacy) and the Social Cognitive Theory (Goal Setting and Vicarious Learning) to promote the four topics I chose, including: an introduction to green eating, eating with ethics, eating locally, and eating a plant-based diet. The information extracted from this study will be used to construct a stand-alone web-based intervention to use in future interventions.

Keywords: Sustainability, green, nutrition, education, stages of change, Transtheoretical Model