Family and Consumer Sciences
Laurie J. Larkin
Health Promotion and Administration
A well-balanced diet comprised of nutrient-dense foods promote a healthy lifestyle. However, Kentucky’s adult obesity prevalence now ranks 5th in the nation, with young adults (18-25) having a 3.2% increase from the previous year. College aged students, which is an understudied population, may be making independent food choices for the first time. The campus food environment and other perceived barriers impact eating behaviors, potentially impeding healthy choices. This study seeks to evaluate 18-22-year-old college students’ dietary patterns related to living on and off-campus and the potential effects of an urban and rural background. The hypotheses state that on campus and urban background students will have healthier dietary eating patterns than their counterparts. A cross-sectional online survey was developed from self-reported Project EAT and CHOICES surveys. Survey distribution was collected from a convenience sample of college courses at a regional 4-year public university in Kentucky. Subjects who completed the surveys (n=210), were full-time undergraduate young adults (62% female, 87% white, 42.3% overweight/obese) aged 18-22. Results found significant differences among on/off-campus students in regards to campus purchases (p=.016) and fast food (p= .031), but none for urban/rural students; however post-hoc test revealed only 6% of students consumed more than 2 servings of fruits and vegetables (FV) per day, despite the Dietary Guideline recommendations of 5 or more servings per day. Additionally, only 3.3% of student ate adequate FV and had a healthy or low BMI, potentially suggesting an endemic of poor eating habits despite previous background and location.